Women in Engineering Day Goes Global

Women in Engineering Day has become an international day of events to promote the education and employment of women in engineering.

June 23 is International National Women in Engineering Day. Designating a day to recognize women in engineering was launched for the first time in the UK on June 23, 2014 by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) in order to celebrate the 95th anniversary of the organization. Since that launch, the day has grown significantly over the subsequent years. In 2016, the day received the United Nations’ UNESCO patronage.

International Women in Engineering Day, Women's Engineering Society
The education and employment of women in engineering has become a global issue with International Women in Engineering Day. (Image source: Women's Engineering Society)

National Women in Engineering Day has now become international due to interest and enthusiasm developed by the international audience and participants in the previous years. International Women in Engineering Day was born to allow for the celebration of women in engineering throughout the world.

According to the Society of Women Engineers, 20% of engineering school graduates are women, yet women make up only 11% of practicing engineers. On one level that suggests that the percentage of women in engineering will rise as those graduates find jobs and aging engineers who are predominately male retire. Yet part of the gap between th percentage of engineering students and employed women engineers is due to the fact that 25% of female engineers leave the field after the age of 30, compared to only 10% of male engineers.

Corporate Support for Women in Engineering

A growing number of corporations are making an effort to support and promote women in engineering. “At Siemens, our mission is to demonstrate responsible practices in our workplace and help Siemens Digital Industries Software become a recognized industry leader regarding women in the workplace,” Brenda Discher, SVP, Business Strategy & Marketing at Siemens Digital Industries Software, told Designs News. Last week at our Realize LIVE event in Detroit, we launched the Siemens Women’s Network program to connect, network and invest in women to gain more diversity throughout all levels of our organization.

Discher noted that the program was kicked off with a women-in-software lunch that brought together women from Siemens partners and customers, including Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Caterpillar, and all three of the big auto OEMS to collaborate and discuss best practices.

In addition to the new program, Siemens sponsors employee resource groups, including a Women’s Impact Network (WIN) that provides a business resource group for employees to converge around topics affecting female employees. “The mission of WIN is to strategically advise, empower and lead efforts to attract, develop, retain and advocate for the advancement of women in the workplace and community, to the benefit of our business objectives and  organizational performance,” said Discher. “We also support grassroots efforts, mentoring and a development program to groom women for executive position.”

Rob Spiegel has covered automation and control for 19 years, 17 of them for Design News. Other topics he has covered include supply chain technology, alternative energy, and cyber security. For 10 years, he was owner and publisher of the food magazine Chile Pepper.

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