Celebrating International Women in Engineering Day

Posted by Miss Kat Jordan, Mr Chris Pockett, Dr Susan Graham and Dr Alison Wall on 23 June 2017

To support International Women in Engineering Day on 23 June 2017, four people that support and promote diversity in engineering share their thoughts and experiences:

Flexible working hours helped me deliver my dissertation

Katherine Jordan is an engineering graduate

I loved science at school, but as I got older, my interest in academia waned. Having my son at the age of 20 gave me the focus and motivation to pursue a career in engineering. I studied Mechanical Engineering at University West of England (UWE) and undertook an industrial placement at Renishaw as part of my degree which was then extended whilst I finished my studies. I was incredibly lucky to have such brilliant support from both Renishaw and UWE. I was allowed to split the remainder of my degree over two years. Renishaw provided me with flexible working hours and a project for my dissertation so I could work on this during my normal working hours.

Going a bit off the rails after school, having bad life experiences or raising children shouldn't stop anyone from going to university. My son is now eight years old, I am five years into an engineering career and due to graduate with a first class degree in June 2017.

We positively promote female role models

Chris Pockett is Head of Communications at Renishaw plc, an EPSRC Strategic Partner company

At Renishaw we recognise that there are significant societal and cultural barriers to be faced in the efforts to attract more young women into engineering. It is therefore necessary to take a holistic approach, ensuring that we intervene early to influence young girls and importantly influence their own influencers, mainly teachers and parents.

We positively promote female role models, with 25 women engineers acting as STEM Ambassadors supporting our schools work, including primary schools; we have even created a 'Renishaw Engineering' badge for local Brownies packs.

Our main UK facilities are accessible throughout the year, enabling us to dispel engineering stereotypes, including tours and fun, hands-on activities. At our South Wales site we have also created a dedicated education facility that hosts multiple activities, including 'Girls into STEM' days, visits by all-girls schools, and bespoke workshops. We also work collaboratively with industry organisations and engineering peers to positively promote the sector.

My advice for female entrepreneurs

Dr Susan Graham is co-founder Chief Technical Officer at BioCarbon Engineering and a former student at an EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training

For me, engineering and entrepreneurship are the tools to scale a solution. In medicine as an example, a doctor can treat one person at a time. As a biomedical engineer, if you create a solution once, you can treat millions if not billions of people that you will never meet. This ability to scale impact beyond your own hands and beyond your own lifetime is what makes me so passionate about engineering.

Growing up I had many strong female role models both in engineering and other disciplines who showed me that you really can do anything you put your mind to. My advice for female entrepreneurs is that 1) all your experiences are relevant when it comes to entrepreneurship - all you have to do is use them, and 2) doing is the best kind of thinking - my favourite quote from Tom Chi.

How EPSRC champions Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Dr Alison Wall is an Associate Director for Building Leadership at EPSRC

Our ambition, working as part of UK Research and Innovation is to be recognised as a leader in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the research community, working with partners throughout the sector to bring about cultural change.

To date we have taken the following steps towards this goal:

  • Unconscious bias training for staff, peer reviewers and strategic governance and funding decision makers
  • Revised our peer review processes and documentation to reinforce fair decision making
  • Ensuring that our panels and advisory bodies are more balanced in terms of gender
  • Working in partnership with pilot Universities to accelerate cultural change and increase diversity in the research workplace
  • Launching a new call 'Inclusion Matters' early Summer 2017 with funding of up to £5million available to promote culture change and pilot new ideas and intervention for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Tackling the challenge of equality, diversity and inclusion in the engineering and physical sciences research base is high on our agenda. Our Council has asked us to be bold with our interventions. We are embedding promotion of equality, diversity and inclusion in all that we do and we look forward to the new opportunities to continue and grow this work with our partners in UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Website: International Women in Engineering Day

Twitter: #INWED17


In the following table, contact information relevant to the page. The first column is for visual reference only. Data is in the right column.

Photo of Kat Jordan in laboratory

Kat Jordan

Name: Miss Kat Jordan
Job title: Quality Technician
Organisation: Renishaw PLC

Kat Jordan is a Mechanical Engineering graduate from the University of the West of England and now works at Renishaw PLC as a Quality Technician.

In the following table, contact information relevant to the page. The first column is for visual reference only. Data is in the right column.

Photo of Chris Pockett

Chris Pockett

Name: Mr Chris Pockett
Job title: Head of Communications
Organisation: Renishaw PLC

Chris is the Head of Communications for Renishaw PLC and is responsible for Education Outreach programmes.

In the following table, contact information relevant to the page. The first column is for visual reference only. Data is in the right column.

Photo of Susan Graham giving a talk in front of a projected display
Name: Dr Susan Graham
Job title: Co-founder Chief Technical Officer
Organisation: BioCarbon Engineering

Susan is co-founder and Chief Technical Officer of Oxford-based start-up BioCarbon Engineering, which is planning to fight industrial deforestation head-on by planting one billion trees a year using drones.

In the following table, contact information relevant to the page. The first column is for visual reference only. Data is in the right column.

Alison Wall
Name: Dr Alison Wall
Job title: Associate Director
Department: Building Leaders
Organisation: EPSRC