According to a report by EngineeringUK, women make up just 16.5% of all engineers - women remain underrepresented in the engineering sector. Glenda’s experience in a variety of differing roles within TR Fastenings, a leading specialist in the design, engineering, manufacture and distribution of industrial fastenings, means she has developed extensive knowledge on how products are produced and manufactured from start to finish. Glenda has seen a difference in gender ratios both within TR and at their customer base over the last 30 years.
“A career in Engineering was perceived as ‘you’ll get your hands dirty as you’ll be in an oily production environment.’ In truth, it is a million miles away from that because much of the product we produce is often electronically or robotically assembled in very clean facilities.”
Crack the Code reported that education systems are vital in determining girls’ interest in STEM-related subjects. The engineering stereotypes, such as it being a ‘male industry’ and ‘dirty’ is “a myth that needs to be exploded,” Glenda commented.
Numerous organisations and higher education institutions are working to close the gender gap in engineering. For instance, the Government’s T-Level courses include STEM subjects such as Engineering and Manufacturing. Glenda stated, “we need to educate people more generally about the opportunities within an engineering environment, specifically women. It is about understanding what engineering means – being able to see a product from inception all the way through to the final part.” TR’s new website, created in house, features an extensive Knowledge Base of engineering data, and interactive product and sector animations. TR is increasingly seeing their data being accessed by universities as STEM becomes the hot topic in education.
Despite a rising figure in the proportion of women entering undergraduate courses in STEM subjects, there remains to be an unmet demand for higher-level STEM skills in manufacturing, construction, engineering, science, and technology (Gov.uk). “It is about opening people’s minds up to how extensive the engineering opportunities are.”
Breaking the engineering stereotypes will open doors to many people, including women, to a very diverse career path. 85% of the product that TR manufactures and distributes is customer specific, which not only means a variety of parts, but also gives young women the opportunity to experience varying applications– across all sectors.
“I can’t think of many careers that you can have an involvement in such a diverse range of products and very varied companies across sectors to engage with.”
“I have never found working in engineering a barrier because I am a woman.” With 32 years of experience in the industry, Glenda has travelled internationally in her job, and the changes she has seen include an increase in women working within the production environment across a range of skill sets. Glenda’s attitude towards STEM and determination in showcasing what engineering truly is, is an inspiration to young women having doubts about kickstarting their career in engineering.