Murphy graduate focused on tackling the industry’s gender imbalance

Murphy graduate engineer, Imogen Graves, writes this week on why the gender imbalance in construction needs to be tackled urgently and the risk of not representing the society we are trying to build. Imogen will be leading a workshop at the #9PercentIsNotEnough conference this Friday (23rd June), which also marks International Women in Engineering Day.

We work in an industry that shapes society, constructing infrastructure that allows the country to keep moving; we build schools to nurture, hospitals to care and stadiums to entertain. Our industry affects every single person in our country and yet we as an industry are not representative of our society.

The numbers are damning, our industry is 11% female, whilst the engineering sector is only 9% female. For women in trades, the numbers are even worse - only 2% of tradespeople are female.

There is no quick fix for this problem, but we need to start establishing some long term solutions, otherwise our industry shortfalls will keep increasing and we will be in a position where the industry is no longer capable of delivering what our clients, and the country as a whole, need.

There are all sorts of technical solutions and recruitment strategies that could help to deal with the “leaky pipeline”, however to make a real difference we need to show girls and young women that engineering, construction or trades are the right place for them.

The Institution of Engineering and Technology are hosting nine practical workshops at the #9PercentIsNotEnough conference this Friday (23rd June) in Birmingham. The workshops will look at how to overcome barriers to attracting, inspiring, recruiting and retaining more women in engineering and technology. My workshop will focus on ‘overcoming the recruitment challenge’ and I feel very proud to be able to play my part in an extremely important day.

The solutions need to start with how we communicate with children, what messages are they being conditioned with? Within the company we are all aware of how our conditioning affects our beliefs, so if young girls are regularly confronted with messages telling them that “girls try hard but boys are smart”, “construction is no place for girls”, “girls can’t do maths and physics”, “girls are too weak to work on site”, then eventually they are going to believe these things are true.

If we were all to start thinking about how we communicate with the girls and young women around us then we could start to make a change; praise your daughters’ assertiveness, admire your nieces’ problem solving skills, applaud your granddaughters’ intelligence and remind all the girls and young women in your life that they can achieve anything.

See photos from the conference here.

Posted 20 June 2017 by Imogen Graves

Engineering, Design, Construction and development, Graduates, People, Opinion, Rail

About Imogen Graves

Imogen is a graduate engineer working with the LM team on the enabling works for the northern sector of HS2 'phase 1'. She is a keen champion for increasing diversity in the industry and actively provides solutions to promote a more inclusive construction industry. Imogen has a strong background as a Civil Engineer and working on the biggest construction project in the history of the UK allows Imogen to use her multi-disciplined skill set to ensure the team meet deadlines to the highest standard.

View all posts from this author

Related Sectors

Related News

  • 17th Nov 2017

    Ground improvements help disabled residents... Read More

  • 9th Nov 2017

    Toby’s fight touches the hearts of Murphy staff... Read More

  • 9th Nov 2017

    Rallying the troops on DIY SOS... Read More

View All News