‘We want a world where women are as likely as men to choose a career in it’: UK women in engineering

In the UK in 2017, some 11% of engineers were women – but given this figure stood at just 6% in 2011, education and training in science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) seems to be making headway.

The latest figures from the Women into Science and Engineering (Wise) campaign show that the number of women working in core Stem careers (including engineering) rose by more than 60,000 between 2016 and 2017. After the government launched its new “trailblazer” scheme in 2013 to initiate industry-set standards in apprenticeships, these pathways have played a key role in better representation for women in engineering. Nevertheless, while women currently make up approximately 12% of engineers in the UK, just over 7% of engineering apprentices are female.

This year’s Top 50 Women in Engineering highlights 22 current and 28 former apprentices at the forefront of UK engineering, from HS2 to Typhoon jets and the 5G rollout. It was put together by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES), a charity that celebrates its centenary this year.

Elizabeth Donnelly, its CEO, explains: “We want a world where women are as likely as men to choose an engineering career, and it can be seen from this list that women are excelling across an impressive range of sectors.”

I covered the WES’s top 50 women in engineering as a 2,500-word feature, which ran in The Guardian’s supplement on the same subject.