The aim of the ceremony is to not only celebrate women working in modern engineering but also their drive in becoming female ambassadors in the hope that they’ll inspire other girls and young women to consider a career in engineering and technology.
“We want to inspire the next generation of engineers, especially girls – and one way of doing this is to showcase inspiring young female engineers. The YWE Awards put high-achieving female engineers and technicians in the spotlight so that they become role models for the next generation of young women to pursue careers in engineering and technology,” says Nigel Fine, the IET’s chief executive.
Of the five finalists, it was Jenni Sidey (28) who received the YWE award. A lecturer in the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge, Sidey is currently working on the development of the latest low emission combustion devices for use in the transportation and energy sectors.
The Mary George Memorial Prize for Apprentices went to Gemma Dalziel (23), an Apprentice Network Consulting Engineer at Cisco, working on network technologies and network security.
And the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) Award went to Bethan Murray (23), a Manufacturing Systems Lead at Rolls-Royce, working on the systems that aid the manufacture of the latest aircraft components.
In the run up to these awards the Women’s Network at the IET embarked on a social media campaign with the hashtag #9PercentIsNotEnough. This came about from research the IET carried out earlier this year (2016 IET Skills Survey) that revealed that only 9% of women make up the UK’s engineering and technology workforce.
The campaign has requested that female engineers from all fields of engineering take a photo of themselves with 9% written on their palms, hashtag it and share it on Twitter and Facebook to highlight that engineering is a realistic career aspiration for girls. It has been hugely successful with many female engineers supporting the campaign, even the YWE award winner Jenni Sidey.
Following the receipt of her award, Sidey said: “The IET has worked hard to raise awareness of the lack of diversity within the engineering profession and I hope that, through my receipt of this award and involvement in gender diversity initiatives, I can strengthen the IET’s sentiment: to reach our technological potential, the UK’s engineering workforce must be inclusive and diverse.”
For an interview with Jenni Sidey regarding the work she does in the University of Cambridge’s Department of Engineering, take a read here.