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#9percentisnotenough; Variohm are Going Against the Grain

You may have seen the hashtag #9percentisnotenough on your twitter feed recently.

This hashtag was developed by The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and relates to the percentage of women who work in Engineering. Here at Variohm we have an engineering and production department where women make up more than 9% of the team.

Of our fourteen engineering and production staff, four of them are women, totalling roughly 29% and two of our managerial positions in this department are filled by women. As a business, we are happy to break the #9percentisnotenough statistic.

Women in Engineering at Variohm

Emma Band, our Production Manager has been working with Variohm for 8 years. She has qualifications in many aspects of Engineering which lead to her contributing to the #9percentisnotenough statistic. She is joined in our production department by Ewelina Kucmeirczyk, our Production Supervisor.

Ewelina has recently passed her Level 2 Diploma in Team Leading and has been working at Variohm for three and a half years

Atiya Mirza and Sue Lang are the final two members of our female engineering and production team. Atiya has been working for Variohm for nearly two years and has an NVQ Level 2 in Performing Manufacturing Operation as well as IPC 7721 and 620. Sue has been here for just over a year and is qualified in IPC 620.

Why are there so few women in Engineering?

The IET website says Nine percent is disproportionately low, especially considering the number of talented female engineering and technology graduates who finish university with excellent grades.”

So why does this statistic exist? Why is the percentage of women in engineering so low when compared to men?

Cathy Donoghue our Operations Director has worked at Variohm for over 20 years, she has seen our engineering department grow to the size it is now, she says “From very early on in our education system girls make choices not to follow certain subjects.  The pool of women who go into the STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) is quite small.  Our society does encourage girls and boys to divert into gender acceptable subjects roles from an early age and it is tough for women to enter fields which are very male dominated.”

Emma Band says “Engineering is a very broad term which still holds meaning for most people of heavy, dirty industrial work. Unfortunately with engineering still being predominately a male environment some women might be put off by being in the minority in the workplace

In my first job I was the only female to work on the shop floor amongst approx. 300 men. Many of whom had never worked alongside a woman before. It was a learning curve for them as well as me.”

Emma has always been interested in engineering and hasn’t been afraid to pursue it, “I have always had an interest in engineering so decided to look for an apprenticeship when I left school that would give me both the practical skills and formal qualifications.”

Variohm encouraging women to break the #9percentisnotenough mould

We want to encourage women to continue to apply and work for our team. It is fantastic that we go against the statistic by having more than 9% of our engineering and production team made up of women.

Emma says “I look forward to the continued growth of the company so that we can encourage more women to join the team and progress through the ranks with the same opportunities that I have been fortunate to benefit from.”

Cathy says “It encourages me that Variohm doesn’t follow the trend but can encourage people to take on roles according to their skills without regard for their gender.”

So how do you get involved? Emma speaks from past experience to encourage women to pursue their career in engineering “Get involved as early as possible and have interests outside of school which involve some form of engineering or at least in an engineering environment. Push your secondary school/ college to find you work experience in an engineering environment, if they can’t find one then organise one for yourself! Make yourself stand out from the crowd.”

We are looking forward to our team growing across all of our departments and encouraging both men and women to join us. 

Article published on: 27/01/2017