Women in Engineering Group

Women in Engineering Group is a sub group of the Inclusion and Diversity Society.  The Group’s mission is to support women, pre and post-graduation (including those returning from a career break) who have chosen to pursue a career in engineering so as to develop their skills and competences and fully realise their potential in and out of the workplace.

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Engineers Changing the Future

WEG Engineers Changing the Future

The Engineers Ireland Women in Engineering group would like to highlight Engineers changing the future and to inspire the next generation. We are looking to profile Engineers who are working in the area of climate change. If you are interested in being profiled please complete the form by clicking the button below. 

Changing the Future

Each week we will be profiling Engineers who are changing the future and inspiring the next generation. Read more about the work and important role Engineers can play in dealing with climate change.

Saorlaith Ní Shuibhne, Chartered Engineer

Chartered Transportation Engineer / Transportation Planner at DBFL


Tell us about yourself in three words.

Imposter syndrome sufferer.

Tell us about your company and your role.

I work as a transportation engineer and planner in DBFL which is an Irish engineering consultancy. We work with both private and public sector clients. My main role currently is figuring out the different ways we can encourage sustainable transport options, whether this is providing an active modes route in an area or coming up with a mobility plan for a development to ensure users have access to sustainable modes for their journeys.

What inspired you to become an Engineer?

I grew up surrounded by engineers and always liked planning things out and solving problems, so engineering was always on the cards for me. As I made my way through my formal education my areas of interest started to show themselves and I’m still figuring things out as I progress through my career. My main motivation is that I want to help people, transportation engineering and planning helps me do this because at a fundamental level it’s about accessibility and removing barriers to ensure people have access to things while being sustainable.     

Why is it important for Engineers to engage with the issue of climate change?

At a basic level every engineer is a problem solver, and climate change is a big problem. It makes sense that our problem solvers are working on this. Engineers are also at the forefront of progression and advancements so if we want to protect the world from climate change and live sustainable lives, we need the trajectory of our advancements to be reflective of this.

What is an Engineer's contribution to dealing with climate change?

There are so many. Engineers can contribute to the mitigation of climate change by working towards reducing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. They can help with adaption to aid in recovery from climate change through things like flood relief infrastructure. I’m sure there are branches of engineering that haven’t even formed yet that will be experts at climate engineering to address specific climate change impacts. The contributions are endless.  

What do you see as a major obstacle in solving climate change?

Put simply, big companies with too much power. I think there needs to be more accountability at the beginning of production lifecycles rather than putting all the responsibility on final users. I think big companies have more sway on us than anyone would like to believe and their power dictates how we consume products and information.

Do you have any advice for the younger generation who would like to pursue Engineering as their career?

Stay open minded and always remember your passion. There is no such thing as a wrong decision if it’s made for the right reasons so don’t put too much pressure on yourself about individual decisions about your career and think about the big picture instead.

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Aoife Murphy, Chartered Engineer

Aoife Murphy, Chartered Engineer, Senior Engineer, David Kelly partnership

 

Tell us about yourself in three words.
Passionate, interesting, happy

Tell us about your company and your role.
I'm a structural engineer working almost wholly in conservation. I love working with old buildings and structures. Every job is different and there is always something new to learn.

What inspired you to become an Engineer?
I wasn't sure what engineering was exactly when I started studying. I was good at math and enjoyed a challenge. The variety of jobs/careers from an engineering degree interested me.

Why is it important for Engineers to engage with the issue of climate change?
It will touch on all of our work. We are the designers of power systems, buildings, transportation systems. All at the forefront of what will be affected by climate change.

What is an Engineer's contribution to dealing with climate change?
From my area retrofit of existing buildings is an area we need to step into. The carbon footprint of building is huge not to mention demolish and rebuild. For engineering as a whole, we need to look at energy supply, an over reliance of fossil fuels is going to affect us all in the short term now. Renewable energy and electric transport need to be prioritised.

What do you see as a major obstacle in solving climate change?
I think the appetite is not there yet. A change away from fossil fuels is essential but to facilitate that there needs to be infrastructure in place.  Alternatives to heating and transport for all are needed, not just those who can afford to upgrade their systems. Incentives to upgrade existing homes, towards electric vehicles and improved public transport systems for everyone. The privatisation of essential items such as transport, electricity, housing and potentially health is worrying.

Do you have any advice for the younger generation who would like to pursue Engineering as their career?
It is a fascinating, important area where you will be challenged and will keep learning. It’s also very broad. You can travel the world with it. You will find your niche.

Some images of Aoife’s work;

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Brigid Walsh, Chartered Engineer

Project Director & Co-Founder of Solar Evolution Ltd

Tell us about yourself in three words:
Creative, Curious, Passionate.
Tell us about your company and your role? 
I am the Cofounder and Project Director of Solar Evolution a renewable energy company offering a full turnkey solar PV solution to our commercial clients. Solar Evolution are Renewable energy professionals committed to a sustainable future that help commercial and industrial companies produce their own electricity, efficiently, reliably, economically, that can offset your businesses carbon footprint.
What inspired you to become an Engineer?
The job of an engineer influences where people work, relax, learn and live their lives. There are a vast range of fields, and positions within them, available in the engineering world.  I find it exciting to have so many options, love the variety of roles available and enjoy the flexibility and variety this provides.
Can you tell us how your work as an Engineer benefits the planet and/or people? Why is it important for engineers to engage with the issue of climate change?
My field of engineering - renewable energy – plays a vital part in sustainable energy development. It helps create alternates to using fossil fuels and mitigates the effects of climate change.
Engineering skills are necessary in the renewable energy and technology sector which is advancing at a very fast pace. Corporations are embracing emissions reduction targets, one of the objectives of the climate action plan, to limit the impact of their activities on the rise in global temperatures. The innovation engineers provide crucially helps tackle climate change. We are seeing results at both a local and global level which benefits every individual.
Do you have any advice for the younger generation who would like to pursue Engineering as their career?
As an engineer I have had the opportunity to work with new technologies, understand how they work and liaise with others as to how improvements can be made. Engineering, being a creative field, has provided immense job and personal satisfaction for me. Engineering is practical subjects that give students hands-on experience of working that helps to develop skills and initiative in the planning and realisation of designing, planning, building and technological processes.  
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Some images of Brigid’s work below:


Women in Engineering Videos

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Women in Engineering in the Engineers Journal

Major initiative launched to increase number of female engineers in pharma

By any measure, the pharmaceutical industry in Ireland has been one of the country’s major success stories. From a virtual standing start 20 years ago, some 120 overseas companies have established operations in Ireland and 9 of the biggest 10 pharma global companies have a presence in the country. Pharmaceuticals accounts now for more than 50% of Irish exports, employ almost 25,000 people directly with the same number employed in supplying products and services to the pharma companies ...

'Returnships' support female engineers in the workplace after career breaks

Initiatives like the STEPS programme are in place across our schools and universities to encourage female students into STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), but what is available to support those talented women who took a break from the corporate world mid-career to look after their children or elderly relatives? The numbers are significant. According to the most recent Irish census data, female workforce participation during the ages of 35 and 55 years is 72%, some ...

From electricity to analytics - celebrating female engineers who made history

In Ireland, just one engineer in ten is female, according to Engineers Ireland. In the UK, according to the Women’s Engineering Society, less than 10 per cent of engineering professionals are women, which is the lowest figure in Europe. Latvia, Bulgaria and Cyprus are leading the way, with female engineers making up almost 30 per cent. As World War I began to fracture the map, the National Council of Women was created in the UK in 1914, with the aim of getting women into work as men ...

Alice Perry - the Galway woman who became Europe's first engineering graduate

The beginning of the 20th century was a seismic historical period in which advances were made in philosophy, political thinking, science, literature, engineering and equality. In particular, gradual strides in female equality were made in accessing third-level education (for those that could afford it) and subsequently in employment. As these ground-breaking women entered the workforce, they proved more than equal to their male counterparts. At first, this manifested itself by way of the ...

Diversity and inclusion is crucial for engineering future - Prof Ann Dowling

The public lecture by Prof Dame Ann Dowling OM DBE FRS FREng, entitled ‘Diversity and Inclusion: A Value Proposition for Engineering’, took place in Trinity College on 26 October. Prof Dowling, a world authority on combustion and acoustics, is professor of mechanical engineering and deputy vice-chancellor at the University of Cambridge and the first female president of the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE). The event marked the tenth anniversary of the WiSER (Centre for Women in Science ...

FESTA Strategic Career Manager: supporting women’s progression in academia

The FESTA Strategic Career Manager (FESTA-SCM) is a decision support system for junior to mid-level academics and researchers. It provides individuals with a personalised career-development profile based on their responses to questions. While this system has emerged from research with a focus on women and on science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), it is useful to both women and men, and to academics and researchers from disciplines outside STEM. FESTA-SCM was developed in ...
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