Women make up only six per cent of UK engineers – but that hasn’t stopped these London engineers from joining a male-dominated workforce, building everything from the Shard to Crossrail.
Today marked the second-ever National Women in Engineering Day, to highlight the lack of female engineers. This is bad news for business, according to a report from Engineering UK, which identified that getting more women into science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) jobs would add £2bn to the UK economy.
Given that the number of 18-year-olds overall is due to drop by around 10 per cent in 2022 and the number of engineering workers required in that period is set to increase, encouraging women into the Stem sector is vital to fulfilling business needs.
The UK currently has the EU’s lowest proportion of female engineers, but this is slowly changing. Women accounted for 11.5 per cent of applicants for engineering jobs in 2014.
In London, infrastructure developments are constant – and female engineers are a big part of making that happen. Here are five of them:
1. Roma Agrawal
This 31-year-old structural engineer helped build the Shard, designing its distinctive spire. With one huge project already under her belt, Agrawal has now moved on to designing large residential blocks to help increase London's housing stock.
2. Dana Skelley
Dana Skelley is director of asset management for surface transport at Transport for London (TfL), and is committed to improving TfL’s gender breakdown:
Engineering is one of the few careers where demand for people outweighs supply, and we want to encourage parents of both boys and girls to help their children consider it as a career.
3. Kate Hall
This civil engineer has some impressive accomplishments under her belt. After being listed as one of Management Today’s “35 under 35” in 2007, she went on to lead Arup’s Olympic Park infrastructure design team for the 2012 Olympics.
4. Aoife Considine
As a graduate mechanical engineer at TfL, Considine has a varied job – taking measurements under trains one day and 3D printing her own designs the next.
I chose to become an engineer as it’s a career that can take you anywhere.
5. Linda Miller
With 20 years of engineering experience, Miller joined Crossrail in 2010, and is now project manager for the Connaught Tunnel.
I love the work. It’s an industry full of loud, robust people, using great big toys, doing a job most people think is impossible.