“Ireland’s shortage of engineering graduates means we need a greater talent pool. Yet only 10% of engineers are women,” says Paula Kelly. Paula is a lecturer at the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT).
“Engineers work in multidisciplinary teams. For example, with medics developing medical devices, or marketers developing social media marketing tools. These are the kind of collaborative jobs which women seem to like.”
But women are often deterred from the career by a low awareness of engineering among parents and teachers. A lack of role models and the myth that engineering is for boys is prevalent.
Kelly suggests countering this by mandatory unconscious bias training in education and more role models. Thus developing girls’ confidence in their maths and science skills, and emphasising problem-solving over rote learning.
She says: “Role models who have spoken at DIT advise female student engineers to promote their own work, to look ahead for the next workplace opportunities and to apply even if they do not meet the specification 100%.”
She adds: “Mentoring, networking and seeking workplace and domestic support will also help increase the number of women in the profession.”