International Women in Engineering Day

Emilia Russell

Similar to many other women in engineering, I cannot say that I knew from the age of one that I wanted to be an engineer. In fact, when I finally decided that engineering was the path for me, I remember my mum saying “Why do you want to spend the rest of your life fixing cars?”.

While you certainly can be an engineer who fixes cars, engineering is such an incredibly diverse subject matter that you could also be an engineer who designs replacement heart valves or builds safe water systems in developing countries. This diversity and applicability is one of my favourite things about engineering because I feel like I have been given the tools to make a positive change in the world using my passion for maths and creativity.

However, to have a profession so diverse requires a diverse workforce, which is why days such as today are so important. By having more people from a larger range of backgrounds working on a problem, far more creative and ingenious solutions will be found.

I was lucky enough to go to an all-girls secondary school where 94 out of 140 girls were doing A-level maths, which shows that girls do not shy away from STEM subjects when given the opportunity. When I then came to university and found myself vastly in the minority in my cohort of 150 engineers I was taken aback, even more so when I found out that many of my colleagues had been the only females in their A-level physics classes.

I am happy to say that, while working with the Women’s Engineering Society (WES), I have definitely seen changes occur in a positive direction, from as young as reception students when asked to draw what they think an engineer looks like. Seeing these changes makes me excited for the future and what it holds for engineering, and I cannot wait to be involved myself.

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Our Department of Engineering offers a wide range of Engineering pathways, is recognised as one of the leading centres of research in Engineering in the world and is ranked 5th in the UK in The Guardian University Guide 2022. Students benefit from excellent employment opportunities as well as interdisciplinary research and national and international cooperation.

Feeling inspired? Visit our Engineering webpages to learn more about our postgraduate and undergraduate programmes.

Find out more about WES

Emilia Russell

Hi, I'm a fourth-year MEng Electronic Engineering student

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