The Women in Engineering Committee has four overarching themes:
- Theme 1: Engineering Workforce Capacity building- to increase diversity and inclusivity in the future skills pipeline.
- Theme 2: Engineering Workforce Capacity building- to encourage female engineering retention and leadership.
- Theme 3: Collection of Engineering Strategic Indicators.
- Theme 4: Working in Partnership to address the Sustainable Development Goals, with a particular emphasis on Goal 5-Gender Equality, and its relationship to the other Goals in particular SDG13 and 17.
These themes will be addressed in partnership with our National Member Organisations, other WFEO standing committees, as well as through our collaboration with WFEO partners and other associated organisations including INWES (International Network of Women Engineers and Scientists) United Nations Women, United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), International Energy Association, International Science Council.
Theme 1: Engineering Workforce Capacity building- to increase diversity and inclusivity in the future skills pipeline.
Many reports worldwide indicate that the engineering sector is currently experiencing a huge skills gap, which continues to widen yearly. The rapid emergence of digitization and automation has further underscored the new requirements needed in the workplace, and the lack of available talent to fill those gaps.
The WiE is committed to capacity building programs which will:
- Attract. Retain. Promote a diverse future generation of technology talent
- Champion the reduction of the gender digital divide;
- Work with partners, provide guidance on creating and maintaining inclusive cultures;
- Extend the focus of our diversity and inclusion activity beyond gender to other underrepresented groups and recognize the impact of intersectionality;
- Engage Professional Engineering Institutions (PEIs) to build a culture of inclusion across the engineering profession using case studies;
- Use our membership to identify innovative policies, programs, measures and conditions needed to attain gender balance, eliminate violence and promote inclusive representation in engineering.
WiE believes that there is a global problem with equitable or fair representation of people of different genders in engineering and that the only by the realization of a truly inclusive and diverse engineering sector, can the world enjoy the creativity and innovation that comes from different lenses and perspectives, and subsequently achieve sustainable economies that work for all and leave no-one behind.
To achieve this, WIE will:
- Support, reinforce and participate in existing National or International programs to promote workforce diversity and amplification of the aim of capacity building.
- Use social media presence to support and promote global conversations around gender diversity in engineering, using the #WFEOWomen# hashtag.
- Aim for visible presence globally of the work of WIE at International Conferences.
- Develop resources to showcase the work of WIE, such as banners, flyers, PowerPoint presentations to be used by our members.
- Work with WFEO to ensure that members understand the actions that are expected of them to promote gender diversity and inclusion in engineering, and create a truly inclusive WEO without discrimination.
- Promote and celebrate national awareness days including World Engineering Day, International Women’s Day, International Women in Engineering Day, and International Day of the Girl and amplify the profiles of our members and national members in celebrating these days.
- Use metrics and member feedback to identify countries where capacity building and outreach activities are most required, and those which are making good progress.
Theme 2: Engineering Workforce Capacity building- to encourage female engineering retention and leadership
In engineering, and in many other traditionally male dominated sectors, there is a dearth of women in leadership positions. This not only discourages the career aspirations of other women, it also suppresses the voices of women and denies their opinions and limits their ability to contribute to important decisions concerning the world they share with men. The WIE committee will encourage women to aspire and to succeed in leadership positions, both within the WFEO, and in the engineering sector, more widely. Female engineers will be encouraged to break the ‘power glass ceiling’
WIE will work with its National Members to deliver capacity building and growth activities for young women in countries where our input has been identified as being impactful and where these initiatives are currently missing, and it will work with other WFEO Standing committees including Capacity Building and Education to seek opportunities to address this challenge.
To achieve this, WIE will:
- Promote and support our members and their activities to enable them to reach leadership positions, through visibility of their work and their global activity
- Encourage and celebrate leading and rising female engineers, all over the world
- Create rich resource of global women in engineering contacts to be used for partnership opportunities for engineering activities
- Encourage and collaborate with female TECHpreneurs and female led start-ups
- Work with UNESCO to deliver the recommendations of the 2021 UNESCO Engineering Report
- Encourage building inclusive cultures in the existing workplace and in the PEIs
- Engage in, encourage and promote activities that retain and mentors the next generation of female engineers and leaders
Theme 3: Engineering Strategic Indicators
There is a lack of reliable data on the number of women qualifying as engineers, working in the engineering sector and gaining professional status as registered engineers, on a global level. This limits the ability to clearly assess the needs and gender disparity in the profession, as well as the type and impact of actions needed. This lack of evidence is used all too often to justify a failure to act. The use of disaggregated data will help to understand trends and provide a stronger basis for comparative analysis across countries and regions. It will also help to promulgate better understanding of the “Leaky Pipeline”.
National data is available in some countries, but this has not been collected against any standards, and so is often difficult to compare from country to country. There is therefore a significant need and opportunity for leadership to collect reliable and accessible gender disaggregated global data on aspects of engineering, according to definitions and methodologies, which will be available for comparison and benchmarking.
According to the UNESCO Report ‘Cracking the Code’- “Internationally comparable data are also needed on a larger scale to ensure evidence-informed planning and policymaking, as well as further documentation of the effectiveness and impact of interventions.”.
To achieve this, WIE will:
- Work in partnership with WFEO individual and national members, WFEO partners, and other collaborators such as engineering regulators to identify standard metrics, and collect and publish this disaggregated data annually
- Analyze data as collected above to establish prima facie evidence on the regional gender gaps in engineering
- Create a Gender Scorecard for WFEO and partners
- Stimulate the integration of Gender Mainstreaming policies across WFEO and PEIs
Theme 4: Working in Partnership to address the Sustainable Development Goals, with a particular emphasis on Goal 5 and its relationship with the other Goals.
The WIE committee will embed and illustrate the relevant gender perspectives, alongside the other Sustainable Development Goals, in order to ensure that no-one gets left behind and highlight the use of engineering and technology in addressing these challenges. It will specifically gather evidence of cases where women are disproportionately disadvantaged globally, and consider ways of ensuring that engineering and technology can address this.
We recognize too that the members of the Women in Engineering committee can have a joint and multiplying role at WFEO in simultaneously serving on other standing committees, so all members of WIE are encouraged to join a second standing committee, in order to facilitate partnerships and increase our effectiveness in addressing the SDGs and other issues relevant to our visibility and success.
To achieve this, WIE will:
- Work in partnership, identify ways that engineering, technology and innovation can address gender inequality
- Deliver against the WFEO Climate Change (SDG 13) Declaration established in Melbourne in 2019, in particular ‘Use our global influence and connections to gather evidence to illuminate the effect of climate change on women and disadvantaged groups worldwide, and seek to use this information to ensure that no one is left behind.’
- Map the work of the WIE membership to the relevant SDGs on which they work, and other WFEO committees they serve on, and use this expertise as and when required forward achievement of particular goals
- Foster partnerships with others to find ways of delivering our objectives through joint action. Use preexisting opportunities such as WFEO, UNESCO, COP and ICWES and other conferences to further our impact
Theme 4 Leads: Dawn Bonfield (UK) and Eveline de Kokx (Netherlands).