The awards celebrate women working in modern engineering – and aim to help change the perception that engineering is predominantly a career for men by banishing outdated engineering stereotypes of hard hats and dirty overalls.
As well as highlighting engineering talent, the IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards seek to find role models who can help address the UK science and engineering skills crisis by promoting engineering careers to more girls and women. Just 16.5% of those working in engineering occupations are women (source: Engineering UK).
Former winners include Dr Ciara McGrath, a Lecturer in in Aerospace Systems at the University of Manchester, Ella Podmore, Materials Engineer for McLaren Automotive, Ying Wan Loh, Manufacturing Engineer at Rolls-Royce plc and Sophie Harker, Aerodynamics & Performance Engineer for BAE Systems.
Ama Frimpong, Head of Product Development at 52 North Health won the 2022 YWE Award. Ama manages the company’s engineering teams in the development of NeutroCheck®. NeutroCheck is a low-cost, portable device that helps identify people living with cancer who are at risk of neutropenic sepsis - a life-threatening medical emergency occurring in immunosuppressed chemotherapy patients.
She said: “The IET’s YWE awards are all about celebrating the achievements of women engineers and shining a light on the work they’re doing to make a difference in the world, so to be named the IET’s Young Woman Engineer of the Year is such an honour, and it means so much to me.
“We don’t talk enough about the phenomenal women in STEM, past or present, who have improved the lives of so many. So, for this International Women’s Day, let’s recognise and champion women in STEM to inspire the next generation and embrace equity. Equity where girls and women that pursue STEM subjects and careers are supported and encouraged to stay, make their mark and change the world.”
Now in its fifth year, another award category is the Gender Diversity Ambassador Award which was awarded to Lynn Tomkins in 2022, who has spent a large proportion of her career committed to addressing the gender imbalance within the industry. Lynn has made a significant contribution to the engineering gender diversity arena and addressing the gender diversity gap.
Dr Laura Norton, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the IET, said: “Engineers touch every part of our lives and develop products and services for us all, yet just 16.5% of the sector’s workforce are women. It’s hard to be what you can’t see which is why awards like this are crucial for raising the profile of women within engineering.
“Our awards shine a spotlight on the incredible women who are engineering a better world for us all and provide real-life role models for younger generations to encourage greater diversity within the industry.
“We have a responsibility and opportunity to eliminate the damaging and misconceived stereotypes that currently threaten our industry. So, it’s vital that we champion engineering careers to the next generation and show them just how exciting, creative and life-changing working in this sector can be.”
The deadline for entries to the IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards is 3 July 2023.
For more information, visit: youngwomenengineer.theiet.org