Breaking the myth of the stereotypical engineer

Posted on 14 Dec 2017 and read 563 times
Breaking the myth of the stereotypical engineerTo celebrate its annual Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards, the IET ( has delved into the perceptions of a ‘typical engineer’.

It interviewed school-children aged 9 to 16 and found that fewer than one in 10 of them imagined the typical engineer to be a woman.

Jo Foster, IET ‘diversity and inclusion manager’, said: “Outdated and fixed ideas of what a ‘typical engineer’ looks like are damaging to the industry, especially when the significant shortage of engineers in the UK is posing a serious threat to the economy.

“Currently only 9% of engineers are female, the lowest figure in Europe, with wide-ranging reasons cited for this lack of women — everything from gender stereotyping and limited female role models to misconceptions about the job itself and parental attitudes.

“Engineering is perceived as masculine, unglamorous and usually involving people wearing hard hats and overalls.

“The reality is very different. To dispel these engrained ideas of what a typical engineer looks like, the IET is celebrating the 40th Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards with a campaign to showcase engineering in a completely different light.

“The IET has commissioned Rankin Studios to photograph this year’s award finalists — as well as previous affiliates— in a series of thought-provoking images. Dubbed ‘Portrait of an Engineer’, these are designed to break down the visual stereotypes and show that engineering is a diverse and creative career.”

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