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International Women's Day: A round-up of the leading stories

Author : Sophia Bell, Group Editor, DPA

08 March 2023

Happy International Women's Day! This year's theme is 'Embrace Equity', urging the need for equitable action to ensure diversity and inclusion in society and in the workplace.

As the official campaign states, "Equity isn't just a nice-to-have, it's a must-have. A focus on gender equity needs to be part of every society's DNA. And it's critical to understand the difference between equity and equality."

A lot more needs to be done to encourage women into STEM industries, from which they have traditionally been excluded. Although vital work has been done in recent years to tackle this problem, the engineering sector, in particular, remains hugely male-dominated, with just 16.5 percent of engineers being women. This needs to change.

Therefore, it is essential both to celebrate the inspirational female leaders who are paving the way, and to highlight practicable actions that should be taken to make engineering, and STEM in general, a viable career path for the next generation of women. It's time to embrace equity. 

With this in mind, we at DPA have put together the leading stories that shine a light on the progress the industry has made so far, and how much further we've still got to go.

1. We need to empower women to pave their own pathways in STEM

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2023, Joanna Kori and Nicola Pickering at Encompass Corporation reflect on their STEM journeys, and the importance of inspiring future female leaders.

“When reflecting on my journey, I don’t regret the times I stepped into the unknown and tried something new or challenging, particularly in relation to STEM activities and my career path.

“My only regrets come from when I let self-doubt limit me from taking on new opportunities. Our careers are crafted by our skills and our value but, fundamentally, our careers are also crafted by the opportunities that we seek and accept.”

Read the full story here.

2. It will take almost 65 years to close manufacturing’s gender pay gap

According to new research, the current gender pay gap within the manufacturing industry won’t come to an end until 2085.

 “The gender pay gap is a major barrier in the recruitment and progression of women within the manufacturing industry. 

“As a result, it is leaving women at an enormous disadvantage while continuing to promote a shrinking pipeline of talent, as skilled workers seek better-paid opportunities elsewhere.”

Read the full story here.

3. UK Government to encourage more women to pursue STEM careers

Kemi Badenoch, the Minister for Women and Equalities, has announced a new government-backed initiative to make careers in science, technology and mathematics more accessible for women.

"Between 2009 and 2020, there was an almost 30 percent increase in girls starting STEM A-Levels in England, and between 2011 and 2020, the number of women accepted to full-time STEM undergraduate courses increased by 50.1 percent in the UK. 

"Despite this, women still make up just 29.4 percent of the STEM workforce in the UK."

Read the full story here

4. Engineering an empowered future: Calling all inspirational female role models this IWD!

To mark International Women’s Day, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) is calling for applications for its 2023 Young Woman Engineer (YWE) of the Year Awards.

“We have a responsibility and opportunity to eliminate the damaging and misconceived stereotypes that currently threaten our industry. So, it’s vital that we champion engineering careers to the next generation and show them just how exciting, creative and life-changing working in this sector can be.”

Read the full story here.

5. Combination of cost-of-living crisis and Covid-19 proves major obstacle to women in tech

A new International Women’s Day survey has revealed that women’s careers have been disproportionately affected by the dual crises of the pandemic and the current economic conditions.

"In 2023, over half (52 percent) of respondents believed women missed out on work opportunities, were forced to scale down work and take time off to care for children, as well as undertaking more household chores during the pandemic and economically challenging times."

Read the full story here.

6. SheLivesTech boot camp empowers women with digital skills

To mark International Women’s Day 2023, FDM Group hosted SheLivesTech digital skills boot camp, celebrating the certification of 40 female STEM students.

“Today has definitely encouraged me to consider a career in development. I’d never tried it before, I don’t come from a tech degree background and I found it really interesting and enjoyed it.”

Read the full story here.

7. How gender parity could be a key turning point for the manufacturing talent shortage

One of the fiercest challenges the manufacturing industry faces this year is the ever-widening skills shortage and talent crisis, which is costing the UK an estimated £7bn in lost economic output, the equivalent of around £21m per day lost in GDP.

“The manufacturing industry is an essential fixture in the UK economy, but this continued struggle to attract and retain talent is extremely concerning and damaging to the industry and its future.

“Our new white paper examines the clear disparity in the progression and support of women in the manufacturing industry, which is by far not a new problem for the industry. Yet, it is more apparent than ever that we need to draw attention to this issue and employ effective solutions across the industry as a whole.” 

Read the full story here.

And that's it! Thank you for celebrating International Women's Day with DPA. We'll see you next year.

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