International Women’s Day is an annual day to ‘celebrate women’s achievements and call for greater equality’. As part of this celebration, CampbellReith wants to celebrate the women who make up our company. We asked the female team members to put together their inspirational stories which we hope inspire others.
While women tend to perform better than men in STEM subjects, according to Engineering UK just 12% of people working in engineering are female. At CampbellReith, we want to share the stories of our female employees to see what made them decide to take up engineering as a full-time career and what keeps them inspired on a day to day basis.
Who inspired you to take up your career and why?
“Miss Leigh, Head of Geography at my secondary school. She introduced me to the subject of geology and I have never looked back.”
When and how did you decide on your current career, were there any other options that you considered before your current position?
“When I graduated with a degree in geology in the 1980s, there were few options other than the offshore oil and gas industry. Luckily a man in a pub told me about geotechnical engineering! 18 months and an MSc later, I started work as a graduate geotechnical engineer – the first woman in the team.”
“In this male-dominated profession, we need male allies to help break the glass ceiling and support women to recognise that their success is legitimate.”
Who inspires you most days and why?
“Working women everywhere! In these busy times, we all juggle work, homes and a life outside both of those, but try adding unequal rewards, unconscious bias, the double bind…”
What advice would you give to someone just starting off on their career path to engineering?
“Be bold, be prepared and be your best.”
This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #EachForEqual, collectively, how can we fight bias and broaden perceptions of women within engineering?
“First, we have to recognise that bias still exists, even if it less overt than historically. Leadership qualities are still more commonly associated with men and men are more readily recognised as leaders. In this male-dominated profession, we need male allies to help break the glass ceiling and support women to recognise that their success is legitimate.
But to attract the best, we must also trumpet the positive changes that have occurred. My working life has mainly been one of the firsts … the first woman in the team, the first female associate, the first female partner. Now I can look around and see successful women in engineering everywhere. The next step is to change ‘the first’ from all too often being ‘the only’.”
As an engineering practice that works with a broad range of clients and sectors, our diversity has always resulted in new ideas, unique experiences and better ways of solving problems. Long may this continue.