Today is International Women’s Day.
Celebrating the achievements of women, and various successes in gender parity, it provides us with the perfect opportunity to shine a light on the important issue of diversity in our profession.
The percentage of female undergraduates studying chemical engineering in UK is just above 25%. It’s higher than any other engineering discipline, but there’s still more to be done.
The theme for International Women’s Day 2017 is #BeBoldForChange. To celebrate, our member-led diversity network has shared ten inspiring quotes from their popular ‘Women in Engineering’ webinar series on changing attitudes, highlighting how the engineers featured #BeBoldForChange in their careers.
These women (and one man!) are all at different stages of their fulfilling careers. Their words should inspire you to be #BeBoldForChange too.
- On not judging a book by its cover:
“It was a rewarding experience to gain my (male) managers respect and break down people’s pre-conceptions.”
Gemma Cody: Technical Safety Engineer, Wood Group
#BeBoldForChange: Gemma once worked on a project which saw her improve the working environment in one of the UK’s biggest pharmaceutical plants which manufactured drugs to treat AIDS.
- On glass ceilings and engineering:
“Personally, I’ve never had any issues. I don’t think there any concerns about being limited.”
Sarah Clark, Process Engineer, Amec Foster Wheeler
#BeBoldForChange: Sarah is hugely active in her professional community. She kicked off Aberdeen’s Diversity and Inclusion Working Group, and promotes STEM subjects at Amec Foster Wheeler’s partnership schools.
- On changing attitudes to women in engineering:
“We, as women, have a responsibility, and we should continue to share our best practices with each other.”
Ranna Eardley, Bioprocess Consultant, Exmoor Pharma Concepts
#BeBoldForChange: Ranna represents biochemical engineering in STEMNET’s national Leading Lights campaign, helping to dispel the stereotypes associated with careers in science and technology.
- On equality:
“Gender equality is important and we should recognise it, but being female, or male, shouldn’t be a barrier to success.”
Paul Hayes, Engineering Manager, Bechtel Ltd
#BeBoldForChange: Paul believes in training and developing all people. He is passionate about empowering engineers to make a difference and be leaders in their field.
- On working in diverse teams:
“Having somebody with a slightly different perspective can add value to the team.”
Gill Cowlam, Consultant at Cowlam Paver Whitely Ltd
#BeBoldForChange: Gill was BP’s first female offshore installation manager in the UKCS region. She enjoys inspiring the next generation of engineers, and won the Oil & Gas UK Award for Mentoring in 2010.
- On managing successful teams:
“Treat people individually. Don’t pre-judge opportunities, challenges and what work patterns will suit, because people are different.”
Marie Hart, Associate Director, GHD Livigunn
#BeBoldForChange: Marie has 27 years of experience in the water and has made her way through the ranks to Associate Director, developing business opportunities and providing technical leadership for GHD Livigunn. She believes in motivating teams through positive leadership and empowerment.
- On what people think of engineers:
“There is a misconception that engineering requires physical strength and getting your hands dirty.”
Zeella Labram, Process Engineer, Amec Foster Wheeler
#BeBoldForChange: Zeella actively organises events that provide a platform for young engineers to working and studying in Aberdeen to network with industry.
- On changing career paths:
“Many of the things I enjoyed about the restaurant are the things chemical engineers do every day – developing procedures and cost management.”
Laura Brown, Student, Imperial College London
#BeBoldForChange: Laura’s background is in the food industry. She owned a restaurant serving Northern Indian food and manufactured desserts for local retailers. This interest took her to Imperial College London where she is now studying for an M.Eng in Chemical Engineering.
- On working internationally with different cultures:
“I think you can work everywhere if you really want to…as long as you do your research.”
Catherine Morar, Senior Process Safety Engineer, Technip
#BeBoldForChange: Catherine has worked on two major process safety incidents in oil and gas – BP Texas City and Deep Water Horizon. She loves sharing her knowledge with inspiring engineers, and wants to encourage more women into STEM careers.
- On moving your career forwards
“There is an issue of self-imposed limitations. I’ve been really lucky, gaining all the opportunities I could have wanted in my career so far. I have just had to remind myself that I can do it.”
Angela Ruiz Garzon, Asset Economist, BP
#BeBoldForChange: Asset Economist Angela is responsible for selecting the most profitable crude blend to fit to BP’s Rotterdam refinery configuration. She is passionate about promoting engineering and science in young people, and has a young son of her own.
Have you been inspired to #BeBoldForChange? Tweet @IChemE what you would do to make engineering more gender inclusive, and how you will be supporting International Women’s Day.
Thanks to all the IChemE member volunteers that have taken part in the Women in Engineering webinar series, part of IChemE’s diversity activities.
If you would like to be involved in the IChemE Diversity activities or future recordings get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org. Open to all STEM professionals not just biochemical, chemical and process engineers!
Links to support networks