International Women in Engineering Day 2018
News article - 26 June 2018
Only 11% of the UK engineering workforce is female – the lowest in Europe, compared to some 30% in countries such as Latvia, Bulgaria and Cyprus. This comes at the time of a severe technology skills shortage, where two-thirds of engineering employers say a shortfall of engineers in the UK is a threat to their business. The pipeline of future engineers gives little sign of improvement – 15% of engineering and technology undergraduates in the UK are female (compared with 30% in India), and the proportion of girls amongst A-level physics students has remained static at 20% for the last 25 years.
To help address this, International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) has been running every year since 2014, co-ordinated by the Women’s Engineering Society. It aims to celebrate the achievements of women engineers worldwide, raise the profile and awareness of women in engineering, and inspire future generations.
Last year GCHQ ran our first events to celebrate INWED, focussed on shining a light on the work of Engineering in GCHQ and the roles of, and opportunities for, women within it.
This year, we wanted to take a more active role, and GCHQ has become one of the official sponsors of the event. Along with hosting a range of external and internal speakers, we're also running a poster competition for Year 9s in local schools, building on the department's existing outreach.
GCHQ has always depended on attracting a diverse range of talented people, to stay one step ahead of our adversaries and keep the UK safe. This has never been more critical than today, with technology moving at pace and underpinning both our intelligence and cyber security missions.
We're therefore proud to be able to support International Women in Engineering Day 2018, and play our part in ensuring the UK has a world class pipeline of engineers and technologists that fully represents the society we live in.
John, Director Research & Engineering, GCHQ