More must be done to prevent qualified female engineers leaving the sector, Engineers Ireland has said. 

With female engineers representing just 12% of the profession in Ireland, latest data from the Higher Education Authority indicates that 23% of engineering graduates are female.

Engineers Ireland, who will host a range of webinars on International Women’s Day 2022 to promote the wide-ranging opportunities a career in the sector offers, said more concerted partnerships between industry and academia are required to encourage more females to remain in the profession.

With a recent Behaviours & Attitudes survey report showing that 74% of the general public believe a career in engineering provides equal opportunities for both men and women, Professor Orla Feely, President of Engineers Ireland, said: “It is great to see recognition that there are equal opportunities in the engineering sector, but the fall-off between graduate numbers and women working in the profession requires greater focus and more creative engagement between professional bodies, engineering organisations and the education system.  At Engineers Ireland our Women in Engineering Group is working hard to find ways to encourage more women to enter the engineering industry, and also to stay there.  More collaboration and joined up thinking is required to support our talented and qualified female engineers to remain and advance in the profession.”

Caroline Spillane, Director General, Engineers Ireland added: “Each year International Women’s Day gives us the opportunity to celebrate the significant contribution women in the engineering sector make around the world.  International Women’s Day also presents us with an opportunity to reflect and it is clear that more must be done collectively to carve out the pathways and build the supports to increase the level of female engineers in industry. Breaking down barriers and encouraging girls to enter the profession and young women to remain in the sector is crucial, as is showcasing the many varied, exciting career opportunities that are on offer in this respect.”

Engineers Ireland’s webinars to mark International Women’s Day 2022 includes a guidance counsellor online information session that features presentations and contributions from Engineers Ireland STEPS Ambassador and Chartered Engineer, Orla Hartley, and Engineers Ireland President and UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact, Professor Orla Feely, on the expanding career opportunities for girls in engineering and other tech areas.

Engineers Ireland’s Women in Engineering Group will also host an online panel discussion on ways to tackle biases and support female engineers progress in the sector. This event will include contributions from Ann O’Dea, Founder and CEO of Silicon Republic; Donna Gartland, CEO Codema; Claire Lillis, Senior Programme Manager, Aerogen; Susan McGarry, Managing Director, Ecocem; Caroline Spillane, Director General, Engineers Ireland; Anne Marie Quirke, Project Manager, Coffey Construction; and Susan Kenny, Bid Manager, Coffey Construction.

International Women’s Day coincides with STEPS Engineers Week 2022, a week-long campaign which aims to bring the creative and dynamic world of engineering to life. Running until 11 March, Ireland’s celebration of the engineering profession is coordinated by Engineers Ireland's STEPS programme - funded by the Department of Education and industry leaders Arup, the EPA, ESB, Intel and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII).

Find out more about Engineers Ireland’s International Women's Day 2022  events here.