Celebrating International Women in Engineering Day 2017

Since 2016, the UK’s Daily Telegraph newspaper has marked June 23 with a list of the Top 50 Women in Engineering. This year Lucy Ackland, who led development of Renishaw’s RenAM 500M metal 3D printer has made the list as one of the most influential engineers in the UK.

The announcement coincides with 2017’s International Women in Engineering Day (INWED), a focus on the opportunities afforded to women in the industry, and an inspection of skills shortage on an international scale.

9 percent is not enough

Statistics collected by the Institution of Engineering and Technology show that women make up only 9% of the UK’s engineering and technology workforce. This figure puts the UK at the bottom of equal employment throughout Europe. In addition, women in the U.S.make up about 14% of engineering jobs.

Proportion of female engineering professional in EU countries. Image via UKRC's analysis of European Labour Force Survey, 2007
Proportion of female engineering professional in EU countries. Image via UKRC’s analysis of European Labour Force Survey, 2007

In terms of intellectual and technical diversity, these figures simply aren’t enough. In the UK figures also show that, though there are encouraging initiatives to promote balance in engineering, the number of female employees has changed little since 2007.

From "Disruptive Diversity, A report for the ICE" by Dawn Bonfield, October 2015.
From “Disruptive Diversity, A report for the ICE” by Dawn Bonfield, October 2015.

The support of millions

Starting 2014, the Women’s Engineering Society decided to hold a National Women in Engineering Day (NWED) in an attempt to change the perception of women in the industry. The intiative is supported by Patronage of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation and, in 2015, had a suspected impact on millions of people across the UK and Europe.

The supporting social media campaign reached over 1 million people on Twitter, with the NWED hashtag trending at the top spot in the UK for 9 hours, and at 5th place worldwide. A total of 550 specialist NWED events took place on the day, 350 of which took place in schools.

This year, taking the event to a truly international scale, INWED is expected to be the biggest event yet. At the time of writing this article, #INWED17 is trending on Twitter in 4th place throughout the UK, and the Daily Telegraph’s Top 50 Women in Engineering list is gaining significant traction.

Photo tweeted from RAF Cosford, home to the Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering, via @RAF_Cosford
Photo tweeted from RAF Cosford, home to the Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering, via @RAF_Cosford

The Daily Telegraph’s Top 50

As a Senior Development Engineer, Lucy Ackland has made the Daily Telegraph influence list for her significant contribution to Renishaw’s education outreach programme. Since 2008, Ackland has been an ambassador for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) initiatives, and runs events to inspire young people’s future career paths.

Senior Development Engineer Lucy Ackland. Photo via Renishaw
Senior Development Engineer Lucy Ackland. Photo via Renishaw

Praising the recognition of the awards and efforts by the Women’s Engineering Society, Ackland explains,

Historically, women’s achievements in STEM have gone unnoticed, and this needs to change. The Top 50 Women in Engineering celebrates the great work done by women in the engineering sector. The awards showcase the amazing work that women are doing, highlighting how women are performing and achieving so much. Showcasing these achievements gives young women role models, challenges stereotypes and shows that engineering is an exciting career path.

The full list of top 50 influential women can be viewed online here, including entrants from 3D printing active companies such as BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce and Airbus.

Women in 3D printing

As a field built on the expertise of both men and women, 3D Printing Industry consider gender representation an important part of our editorial content. In our guest article series we have presented opinion pieces from a number of professionals, covering additive manufacturing applications across the trifecta of machines, materials and software.

Views on the Future of 3D Printing: the next five years have been provided by Renishaw’s Amy Davey, 3DHeals CEO Jenny Chen, Machineworks CMO Crisitina Sesma, Tech Age Kids’ Dr. Tracy Gardner, InovaHouse3D director of product design Mariana Duarte, AET Labs CMO Briana Yarbrough, STEFANAKOU founder Stephania Stefanakou, Alicia Gibb founder and Executive Director of the Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA) and Leo Lane co-founder Lee Bath Nelson.

In addition, 3D Printing Industry has become official media sponsor of the #3DTalk series held in Paris, San Fransisco and New York. Launched by Women in 3D Printing’s Nora Toure, Business Development Director at Sculpteo, and Cyant CEO Barbara Hanna, the series looks at some of the most important questions in 3D printing featuring an all-female panel of speakers.

If any of our readers are celebrating women in engineering, or would like to contribute to the Future of 3D Printing guest series, email us here, or leave your comments in the box below.

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Featured image: Celebration of National Women in Engineering day at Crossrail in 2016. Photo via

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