International Women in Engineering Day 2021
On 23 June each year, the energy industry comes together to celebrate International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) which focuses attention on women in engineering and the amazing career opportunities available in this thriving and innovative industry.
Organised by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES), the campaign encourages everyone to get involved in recognising the achievements and contributions of female engineers.
Honouring its eighth year, the #INWED21 theme is Engineering Heroes. The day provides an opportunity to highlight the amazing work that women engineers are doing around the world, not just in response to the pandemic, but also to support lives and livelihoods every day.
Our My Energy Future Energy Influencers, Deirdree and Lorna, are great examples of young women accomplishing great things for the energy industry through their work in engineering.
Deirdree Polak is a graduate data engineer. Working for Total UK, Deirdree uses data to make crucial decisions to support climate change, sustainability and help shape a better future for the energy industry. With technology being a huge part of her upbringing, she was keen to develop her skills and passion for innovation to be part of the drive to a greener world.
Having worked on projects focusing on areas from Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) through to tidal energy, Lorna Bennet has put her talent to good use as a Project Engineer at ORE Catapult. With a love for the renewables sector, Lorna has been able to develop and upskill her engineering expertise by supporting offshore and onshore wind farm projects, which provide clean and reliable power supplies to the whole of the UK, and beyond.
Why is this day so important for the energy industry?
More so than ever, improving equality and diversity within the energy sector is crucial for long-term success. The industry thrives on new ideas and, whilst an effort has been made to attract a more diverse range of people, there is still a long way to go.
For example, an analysis by Powerful Women, a professional initiative with the aim to advance gender diversity within the energy sector, showed that 42% of the UK’s top 80 energy companies had no women on their boards in early 2019. On top of this, women occupied just 16% of board seats (up from 13% in 2018) and 6% of executive board positions (no improvement on 2018). This only highlights the ongoing need to step up efforts to drive greater D&I. To achieve ambitious net-zero targets, the energy sector needs a variety of perspectives and opinions to help develop the ground-breaking engineering solutions required to create a greener energy mix for the future.
As part of the drive towards creating a more diverse industry, dedicated programmes have been set up to encourage more women to embark on an energy career.
The Global Wind Energy Council partnered with the Global Women’s Network for the Energy Transition (GWNET) to launch the Women in Wind Global Leadership Program. The programme is designed to accelerate the careers of women in the wind industry, support their pathway to leadership positions and foster a global network of mentorship, knowledge-sharing and empowerment.
Want to find out more?
Thinking about a career in engineering within the energy sector but not sure where to start? You can check out the range of engineering roles waiting for you, over on our Energy Careers page.
If you’d like to learn more about the initiatives helping girls to pursue their interest in science, technology, engineering and maths, check out the resources on our Energy Connects page.
Or find out more about International Women in Engineering Day at www.inwed.org.uk