Gender inequality in engineering 'must be stamped out'

Gender inequality in engineering 'must be stamped out'

The gulf between the number of men and women involved in the engineering industry should be narrowed significantly in the future, according to a report published on the subject. Figures from the Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Committee show there are many more men looking to take up a career in engineering than there are ladies. Indeed, there were almost 13,000 males registered on an engineering apprenticeship scheme in 2011-12, while the figure was just 400 women. Such a gap between genders when it comes to training for and securing engineering jobs is not acceptable, the BIS Committee stated in its report. It also noted that organisations and rule makers must now work to eradicate the barriers to entry that currently exist in both engineering and IT. Ella Bennett, HR director at Fujitsu UK and Ireland, told HR Magazine: "IT and engineering are seen as nerdy professions and I know from my own experience that most women in IT get there more by chance than design. What the industry needs to do is showcase more positive female role models. We need to make the roles models visible and accessible so that young women can identify with them." Diane Johnson, skills ambassador at the Electrical Contractors Association, added that she feels there is a lack of knowledge regarding engineering and IT apprenticeships among young girls. This could be having a negative impact on the number of people ending up in such careers. She suggested that many young people do not even know what an apprenticeship is these days, while she admitted the sector she works in "does not look that exciting" to girls as there is no expert guidance on how they can succeed. For engineering jobs to appeal to females in the long run, the industry may need to take significant steps to promote itself and make it an attractive option for women. Only then are more girls likely to show an interest in what it has to offer.

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