International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day

March 2018

International Women’s Day 2018 is a good time to reflect on the role of gender in our industry.

Headlines from Hollywood have highlighted extremes of ugly behaviour that still occur in the workplace, but we also have to tackle the less prominent issues of gender balance, responsibility and opportunities.

A recent poll of UK construction companies[1] indicates that 1 in 5 have never promoted a woman to a position of seniority. The same study found that 13% of women surveyed said they had experienced inappropriate comments or behaviour from male colleagues, while 48% said they felt they had experienced some form of gender discrimination.

Our Institute has been engaged in diversity and inclusion benchmarking and the figures indicate that only around 12% of the current membership is made up of women. However, this can be contextualised with wider industry statistics such as those from the Women’s Engineering Society, which suggests that in 2017 approximately 11% of UK engineers are female[2] (up from 9% in 2015). More positively, the IOA has proportions of 31% females in the leadership, and 50% serving as committee chairs (not to mention two female presidents within the past five years!).

With huge shortfalls in homegrown industry technical talent expected in the near future[3], perhaps we all need to be reflecting on what we can do to encourage more young women to get engaged in, and have equal opportunities to progress within STEM careers, especially acoustics!

 

 

Comments

International Women's Day

There's definitely an issue with encouraging girls into STEM, but there's also an issue with retention - we are still quite an 'old school' industry and I have heard (and experienced for myself) some real horror stories from women in acoustics who have decided to start a family. Companies need to be more open to flexible working, to provide more generous maternity benefits etc etc. I've written a couple of articles about this, I hope it's ok to link to them here - one about the decline in numbers of women in the construction industry, and one on how to encourage women into STEM. They are on medium.com and you can find them by searching for my name.

International Women's Day

There's definitely an issue with encouraging girls into STEM, but there's also an issue with retention - we are still quite an 'old school' industry and I have heard (and experienced for myself) some real horror stories from women in acoustics who have decided to start a family. Companies need to be more open to flexible working, to provide more generous maternity benefits etc etc. I've written a couple of articles about this, I hope it's ok to link to them here - one about the decline in numbers of women in the construction industry, and one on how to encourage women into STEM. They are on medium.com and you can find them by searching for my name.