Professor Orla Feely
President, Engineers Ireland (2021 – 2022 Session)
On this International Women in Engineering Day (23 June), we encourage the wider engineering community and the public to join with us in celebrating the significant contribution and global impact Ireland’s female engineers have made on the world stage.
Alice Perry, the first female graduate of engineering in Europe, Dr Ann Kelleher and Ann-Marie Holmes of Intel, Dervilla Mitchell CBE, Deputy Chair of Arup, Professor Linda Doyle, Provost at Trinity College Dublin and Engineers Ireland’s Engineer of the Year Aisling Hahessy represent just some of Ireland’s inspirational female engineering talent whose work has positively transformed communities in Ireland and overseas.
Their work includes cutting-edge technology development, transformative infrastructure projects, engineering education and international humanitarian and volunteer projects. These leading engineers not only highlight the significant impact engineers make to society, but also provide inspiration for those considering careers in the engineering profession.
Nurturing our future talent
The number of females graduating from engineering courses continues to steadily increase year-on-year. Latest data from the Higher Education Authority indicates that 23% of engineering graduates are female, a 7% increase when compared to 2016.
However, with women representing just 12% of the profession, the fall-off between graduate numbers and women working in the sector is an ongoing area of concern for our institution.
We believe that more collaboration and creative engagement between professional bodies, engineering organisations and the education sector must take place to support our talented and qualified female engineers and to prevent quality engineers leaving the profession.
Greater representation by female engineers is also essential for Ireland’s future development. This would ensure a diversity of viewpoints for the challenges and opportunities that we face in areas such as the climate crisis and digital transformation are utilised.
With greater representation and awareness of female engineering leaders as role models, school children and early career professionals will also be afforded with the opportunity to have access to a greater number of mentors to guide their career journey.
By working together, we can support our future engineering talent and also help female engineers create a clear pathway for progression.
Encouraging women into engineering
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.
Whether early-career engineers or senior leaders, the Group encourages all engineering professionals to play an active role in nurturing female talent and to be allies for their female counterparts.
By working together, we can support our future engineering talent and also help female engineers create a clear pathway for progression, so they remain in academia and industry.