Outdated attitudes still an obstacle to women entering the engineering sector, says Engineers Irelan

Outdated attitudes still an obstacle to women entering the engineering sector, says Engineers Ireland head

07 March 2017 at 15:22
Outdated attitudes still an obstacle to women entering the engineering sector, says Engineers Ireland head
NUI Galway stages series of events to celebrate first female engineer as part of Engineers Week 2017
Over 86% of engineers believe parents and school teachers can do more to break down the societal barriers to girls studying subjects that support careers in engineering, an Engineers Ireland survey has revealed.  
The survey also found that more than half believed that outdated attitudes, among both women and men generally, are still obstacles to women entering the engineering sector.
The findings were revealed by Engineers Ireland at an NUI Galway event, as part of Engineers Week 2017, to mark the official naming of the Alice Perry Engineering Building which celebrates the first woman in Ireland and the UK to earn a degree in engineering.
Caroline Spillane, Director General of Engineers Ireland and the first female to hold the role, said that new ways needed to be found to attract more women into the sector.
“The statistics in Ireland are stark: if you are in a room with ten engineers, the likelihood is just one will be female,” Spillane said.  
“Women largely remain an untapped resource in the engineering profession and our survey of our members highlights the view within the sector that more can be done by all of us, parents, teachers and society generally, to break down the barriers to girls entering the industry.
“Ireland’s engineers are at the forefront of the global tech sector, with companies like Medtronic, Boston Scientific, IBM, Oracle, Cisco and SAP hugely vibrant here in Galway.  But for Ireland to remain strong in this area at a time when global competition is fierce, the gender imbalance in engineering badly needs to be tackled or we will miss the clear opportunity that exists to harness the very specific creativity and innovation skills that are the hallmark of female engineers.  And it is these skills, combined with a formidable intellect and remarkable work ethic, that Alice Perry displayed in abundance across her illustrious engineering career, so I am truly honoured as the Director General of Engineers Ireland to be here at NUI Galway today on this poignant occasion as part of Engineers Week 2017.”
Professor Anne Scott, Vice President for Equality and Diversity at NUI Galway said: “We are delighted to collaborate with Engineers Ireland on this important event during Engineers Week. This week in NUI Galway is also being celebrated as International Women’s Week. We are enormously proud of Alice Perry and what her life’s work symbolises. Decisions on career paths are shaped by the world around us.  Having a visible tribute to the achievements of trailblazers like Alice Perry on campus can serve to both recognise an individual legacy and also to inspire the next generation when they make their own career decisions.” 
Alice Perry, a graduate of the then Queen’s College Galway, was the first woman in Ireland or the UK to earn a degree in engineering and the only woman still to have served as a county engineer in Ireland.  The naming of the building is the culmination of a series of activities focusing on equality and diversity in Engineering at NUI Galway’s award-winning Engineering building.  The events include a public exhibition featuring exciting research projects underway at NUI Galway and a Roundtable Symposium: Full STE(A)M Ahead - Engineering for all: supporting engineering talent and diversity for a better society, which was chaired by TV and radio broadcaster Jonathan McCrea.  
Now in its 11th year, Engineers Week is an annual campaign to inspire the next generation of engineers and excite students about the possibilities a career in engineering can offer running until March 10.  With over 680 events and 58,000 participants involved across the week, the campaign is coordinated on a national basis by Engineers Ireland's STEPS programme – funded as a strategic partner of Science Foundation Ireland’s Smart Futures Programme.
The Engineers Ireland survey of members was undertaken last week and involved a sample of 3,000 member engineers across Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.  To find out more about Engineers Week events taking place around the country visit www.engineersweek.ie.
For further information please contact:
Anne-Marie Clarke, Events and Press Officer, Engineers Ireland
Email : aclarke @engineersireland.ie 
Tel: 01 6651307/ 0876920894
Glen McGahern, Q4 Public Relations
086 1940057
Michelle Ní Chróinín, Press Office, NUI Galway, on +353 91 493542 or michelle.nichroinin@nuigalway.ie
Notes to Editor:
About Engineers Ireland 
Engineers Ireland is one of the largest representative bodies in Ireland, with 23,000 engineers.  The membership incorporates all disciplines of the engineering profession across public and private industry, academic institutions and engineering students.
The Engineers Ireland STEPS programme encourages primary and post-primary students to explore the world of STEM while also promoting engineering as a career choice.
STEPS works in strategic partnership with Science Foundation Ireland on Smart Futures, a collaborative government-industry-education programme promoting STEM careers to post-primary students in Ireland. STEPS is managed by Engineers Ireland and supported by Science Foundation Ireland, the Department of Education and Skills, and a number of major engineering employers (Arup, ESB, TII and eirgrid).  
About NUI Galway 
The University was established in the heart of Galway City, on the west coast of Ireland, in 1845. Since then it has advanced knowledge teaching and learning, through research and innovation, and community engagement.
Over 18,000 students study at NUI Galway, where 2,600 staff provide the very best in research-led education.
NUI Galway’s teaching and research is recognised through its consistent rise in international rankings. The University is placed in the Top 250 of both the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2016/2017 and the QS World University Rankings 2016/17.
With an extensive network of industry, community and academic collaborators around the world, NUI Galway researchers are tackling some of the most pressing issues of our times. Internationally renowned research centres based here include CÚRAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices, Insight Centre for Data Analytics, Moore Institute, Institute for Life course and Society and The Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy.
NUI Galway has been listed as one of the most beautiful universities in Europe according to Business Insider. For more information visit www.nuigalway.ie or view all NUI Galway news here.
*The University's official title is National University of Ireland Galway. Please note that the only official abbreviation is NUI Galway.