A new student society, Imperial Women in Electrical Engineering, has been set up by a group of students in our department.
The society will help bring together an active community of women in EEE who can share their experiences, and encourage and inspire others to achieve their full potential.
Last term we welcomed around 50 undergraduate and postgraduate students to its launch. With the support of the department, the student-run society will organise a range of activities which are likely to include outreach work with schools, invited talks, social and networking events, workshops, and industrial visits.They also aim to implement a “sisters” scheme, to help provide supportive communication across all year groups.
The engineering sector employs more than 1.7m people in the UK, but statistics from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) show that women account for less than 10% of the workforce. The UK also has the lowest percentage of female engineering professionals in Europe, and the proportion of young women studying engineering and physics has remained virtually static since 2012.
With a continued skills shortage and a high predicted demand for future jobs, there is a real need to promote engineering as an exciting, inclusive, and rewarding career for women, and to highlight the diverse opportunities that exist for women as engineering and technology professionals.
The society recognises that understanding the particular challenges and issues for women in the industry is important for all students, and some events will be open to male students, to help broaden the discussion and increase awareness. They are keen to give all students opportunities to network with successful women engineers and to learn from their experiences in the working world.
Through workshops, the group also wants to enhance our students’ confidence, career-development, and professional skills such as technical communication, entrepreneurship and management.
They plan to reach out to school pupils by visiting schools in order to help engage girls in the subject, and in careers they may not have considered, by sharing their enthusiasm for innovative problem-solving and creating technologies that benefit our society and our environment.
The society has already held their first social events, and the committee and members have generated lots of ideas for activities, including trips, social evenings, hackathons/makeathons, networking events, and workshops for careers advice, presentation skills and assertiveness.
As part of their mission to connect with women leaders in academia and industry, the group is organising talks with inspirational female engineers, to share their experience about their careers, to answer questions and offer advice. The talks should be an interesting insight into entrepreneurship, how to succeed in academia, graduate schemes, career pathways, work-life balance and general issues for women in engineering. Later this month we will be welcoming Dr Alison Burdett, an expert on analogue integrated circuit design, and Chief Scientific Officer at Sensium Healthcare.
We would be delighted to hear from women alumni. If you are interested in finding out more, please contact Clare Drysdale, Teaching and Industrial Liaison Manager, Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. firstname.lastname@example.org 020 759 46185.
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