As we celebrate International Women's Day on March 8th, it's important to reflect on the progress we've made towards gender equality in the workplace, and the work that still needs to be done. In many industries, including engineering and manufacturing, women continue to be underrepresented, although the UK founded the world's first women's engineering society in 1919. Today, female engineers account for only 12% of the industry's labour.
However, the sector is reporting high career satisfaction for women, with 95% of female engineers finding their job rewarding and happy in their workplace. This is a testament to the hard work and dedication of women in the industry, as well as to the progress that has been made towards creating more inclusive and supportive workplaces.
But the lack of women engaged in engineering remains a pressing and worrying issue, and it's up to us to take action to address it. This year's theme for International Women's Day is #EmbraceEquity - "The IWD 2023 #EmbraceEquity campaign theme seeks to get the world talking about why "equal opportunities are no longer enough" - and can be exclusionary, rather than inclusive." This means that we need to go beyond simply offering equal opportunities to women, and instead focus on providing the resources and support necessary to ensure that they can thrive and succeed in their careers.
So, how can we embrace equity in the workplace? Here are a few suggestions:
Start with a strong hiring process: Removing any prejudices that might exist and embracing diversity is key. Consider implementing blind recruitment and reviewing job descriptions to ensure that they are inclusive and welcoming to a diverse range of candidates.
Provide training and mentoring: Offering training on diversity and inclusion to all staff can help to ensure that everyone is aware and supportive of creating an inclusive workplace. Additionally, mentoring programs can provide valuable support and guidance to women in the industry.
Foster a supportive company culture: Creating an atmosphere where all staff can thrive, feel comfortable, and valued is key to business success. This can include providing flexible working arrangements, promoting work-life balance, and actively promoting and celebrating diversity and inclusion.
Amplify the voices of women: Finally, it's important to actively seek out and amplify the voices of women in the industry. Encourage women to share their experiences, insights, and ideas, and provide them with the platform and support necessary to do so. This can help to create a more inclusive and collaborative workplace culture.
On International Women's Day 2023, let's take the opportunity to reflect on the progress we've made towards gender equality in the workplace, and the work that still needs to be done. By embracing equity and working together to create inclusive and supportive workplaces, we can ensure that all staff can thrive and succeed, regardless of their gender.