Women in engineering - still a long way to go

1 min read

Farnell’s second annual Global Women in Engineering Survey was launched to help shed light on women’s experiences, career paths, wider challenges and opportunities in the engineering and electronics industry.

The idea being to better understand the barriers to achieving equality and how to reduce discriminatory practices in the workforce.

The report, while claiming that both genders share a united view in supporting women in the industry, suggests that inequality still needs to be addressed. You don’t say?

Women – and by extension other minority groups – are underrepresented in the industry and continue to face both sexism and discrimination.

How depressing and frustrating is that in 2022?

Women still believe that they are perceived to be less technically capable than men, a view not supported by male respondents’ although they would say that wouldn’t they?

And while seventy per cent (70%) of survey respondents said they would intervene when seeing discrimination, the seniority of the person exhibiting discriminating behaviour was an obstacle to intervention.

A small percentage said that discrimination or sexism was actually part of their company’s culture.

According to Farnell things are improving. But when 25 percent of survey respondents said that they have never experienced sexism in the electronics/engineering industry, that suggests that 75 percent have.

Self-promotion by women was highlighted as a key issue in this year’s survey, with women being described as ‘aggressive’ when doing so. This is the same cliched troupes that are brought out when women behave in the same way as men.

The survey also found that there was a decrease in enthusiasm for inclusion and diversity initiatives from 40% in 2021 to approximately 25% in 2022.

While Farnell painted a ‘positive picture’ of the survey I found these findings to be depressing.

According to Farnell they thought that the survey was a strong indicator of positive trends suggesting that the equal treatment of all genders was continuing and improving. I’m not so sure when just 12.5 per cent of engineers are women.

But whatever the case, we have to hope that fewer women have to put up with the misogynistic attitudes that too many experience whether that’s where they are paid significantly less than male colleagues, told to ‘dress sexy’ or that they won’t make it in engineering as it would mean that they would have to be a lot better than the men.

2022? Really? Surely, we can do so much better than this.