Celebrating the achievements of our outstanding women engineers

The attention gained by International Women in Engineering Day is helping get the message out that engineering, mechanical and technical jobs are for girls too, explains Anthea McIntyre.

Anthea McIntyre | Photo credit: European Parliament audiovisual

By Anthea McIntyre

22 Jun 2017


Friday 23 June is International Women in Engineering Day.

The day focuses attention on the amazing careers in engineering and technical roles for girls, and allows us to celebrate the achievements of our outstanding women engineers.

This year's special theme for is #MenAsAllies - and quite right too.


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As Conservative spokesperson on employment in the European Parliament, I always make sure to spread the word about this important awareness day among MEPs and other opinion-formers.

I believe it is very important to encourage individual young women to consider a career in engineering. Before becoming an MEP, I was a software engineer and I am immensely proud of two of my former parliamentary assistants - both remarkable young women - who have changed career and gone into engineering, one into aerospace and the other into space and satellite technology.

Every year the awareness day makes more impact. In 2016 we saw UNESCO endorsing the event worldwide, a list of the Top 50 Women in Engineering published by The Daily Telegraph, more than 200 events in schools and more than 350 in companies and organisations.

In the UK, there were 1500 downloads of the resource pack from the National Women in Engineering Day (NWED) website, while more than 400 packs went out by post.

Organisers received more than 100 requests for additional classroom resources to support school outreach work.

We also caused a sensation on social media, reaching more than one million people via a Thunderclap campaign on Twitter. The official hashtag #nwed2016 got more than 1.5 million impressions on the day, which saw the hashtag trending for around eight hours. At the height of the United Kingdom’s EU referendum campaign a year ago, that was the only subject receiving more hits.

National Women in Engineering Day was reported in over 150 national and local newspapers and online articles in the UK and internationally. Both BBC and Sky News covered the day in their evening news slots, and BBC Woman’s Hour also featured women in engineering, along with a number of radio shows.

On top of that the campaign sold hundreds of t-shirts.

In all these different ways the message is getting to people of all ages and backgrounds. Engineering, mechanical and technical jobs are for girls too.

What a tragedy to think of all the female insight, talent and brainpower that has been wasted over previous generations because of the preposterous misconception that some jobs were suited to men only.

But now we are on the way to putting that right. The world is listening. With UNESCO, a national awareness day has become international. Now International Women in Engineering Day is our global shop window, our megaphone and our celebration party all wrapped into one.

It is estimated that last year many tens of thousands of girls, their parents and teachers were reached by this campaign.

So watch out for the tweets and let's make this year even bigger.

 

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