4 tenets to attracting and retaining women in engineering
Blog4 tenets to attracting and retaining women in engineering

“It’s the first lecture of Computational Fluid Dynamics. The hum of a packed lecture room awaits the start of class. I look around. Slowly, a realisation... I can only see four other females in the class, all seated behind me. Five. I can count it on one hand. Just 5% of the class.” - Emelia Millner, Mechanical Engineer and Co-President of EWB Australia, University of Sydney Chapter

Low levels of diversity negatively affect the capacity of the Engineering sector to contribute creative, innovative technical solutions as part of the global sustainable development agenda to ‘end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all.’

At EWB Australia, our participation reflects higher gender diversity than the national average. Women comprise 35% of our membership, and 59% of leadership roles, compared with the Australian sector average of just 12%.

Our report, "Redefining Engineering" unpacked this, and found four key tenets to attracting and engaging women in the sector that all engineering organisations can adopt:

(1) Increase the community focus of all engineering disciplinesValues-alignment between an initiative organisation and participant matters

(2) Build a values-based community: the influence and substance of social connections is powerful. Whilst existing networks and societies in the STEM fields already focus on women supporting women, there is an opportunity to compliment these with platforms based on another identifiers - a strong values base.

(3) Provide opportunities to carve an engineering identityThe opportunity to explore a ‘personal pathway’ through engineering and understand the kind of engineer one can be. Beyond-the-classroom (and work desk) learning helps women question what kind of engineer they want to be.

(4) Articulate this engineering identity to othersBeing a role model and becoming a role for engineering that has social impact is inspiring and motivating, and prividng some real examples of what an engineering path might look like.

You can deep-dive into our full report. Supported by Origin Foundation.