New Institution group aims to encourage gender equality and diversity throughout the Institution and the engineering community.
That engineering has traditionally always been a male dominated career choice is well known - as reflected in the percentage of female Institution members, currently hovering around the 6% mark. A priority of the Institution is to encourage and develop equality and diversity throughout the engineering community, and one of the crucial inroads it seeks to make by way of this is to bring more women into the engineering fold.
As a precursor to this initiative, the Institution’s Equality and Diversity Steering Group (EDSG) was set up three years ago to promote equality and diversity in the profession. Its main objectives are:
- To encourage a greater number of engineering professionals from diverse backgrounds to engage with the Institution
- To identify and address any perceived barriers within the Institution and the engineering profession
- To tender advice and make recommendations to the Trustee Board concerning the direction and strategy of the Institution in relation to Equality and Diversity
- To develop and support the implementation of the Institution’s Equality and Diversity programme in line with the Institution’s strategic objectives.
It was from these core values that the Women’s Network was developed. The network aims to facilitate the promotion and career development of women in engineering, and encourage the retention of female members across the Institution. It is an open group made up of both male and female engineers, who are either members or employees of the Institution, who have an avid interest in the aims and principles of the group.
Claire Malpas CEng MIMechE, who has been involved with the network since its inception, explained further: “In setting up this group we wanted to make the Institution more outward-looking, and remove any perceived barriers to career growth that women may encounter in the engineering profession. We noticed that other institutions had popular networks specifically for their female members, which served as a forum for female-specific advice and knowledge sharing.
“There are issues that are particular to females that we like to discuss with others who offer the same or similar perspectives – for example, flexitime options that mirror family commitments. In setting up this network we hope that other professional females do not feel isolated or unsure with any issues they may face, professional or otherwise.”
The network is in its infancy stage, with around 30 members based in New Zealand, Australia and the Netherlands, as well as the UK. It is open to anyone with an interest in engineering, regardless of location or gender, and all are welcome to join, discuss, listen and learn from the discussions of this passionate and growing group.
If you would like to learn more, be a part of and contribute to this worthwhile endeavour, please join the Network’s LinkedIn group: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/IMechE-Womens-Network-4449110
If you have any further questions about the Women’s Network and how it operates, please contact Volunteer Development Executive Michelle Cummings: firstname.lastname@example.org