International Women’s Day 2018 is a good time to reflect on the role of gender in our industry.
Headlines from Hollywood have highlighted extremes of ugly behaviour that still occur in the workplace, but we also have to tackle the less prominent issues of gender balance, responsibility and opportunities.
A recent poll of UK construction companies indicates that 1 in 5 have never promoted a woman to a position of seniority. The same study found that 13% of women surveyed said they had experienced inappropriate comments or behaviour from male colleagues, while 48% said they felt they had experienced some form of gender discrimination.
Our Institute has been engaged in diversity and inclusion benchmarking and the figures indicate that only around 12% of the current membership is made up of women. However, this can be contextualised with wider industry statistics such as those from the Women’s Engineering Society, which suggests that in 2017 approximately 11% of UK engineers are female (up from 9% in 2015). More positively, the IOA has proportions of 31% females in the leadership, and 50% serving as committee chairs (not to mention two female presidents within the past five years!).
With huge shortfalls in homegrown industry technical talent expected in the near future, perhaps we all need to be reflecting on what we can do to encourage more young women to get engaged in, and have equal opportunities to progress within STEM careers, especially acoustics!