IET president calls for quotas to boost women in engineering

The new president of the IET Naomi Climer says that employers are failing to take on more women of their own accord and should be given quotas in order to address the imbalance.

Naomi Climer became the Institution’s first female president in its 144 year history in October 2014.

Since her appointment, the IET has collaborated with Prospect, the trade union for professionals, to develop recommendations and guidance for employers on how to recruit, promote and retain experienced women working in science, technology and engineering roles.

She has also pushed to form an all-party parliamentary group to represent women working in these professions.

Climer said diversity would benefit employers because it has been shown that mixed teams, whether of race, gender or age are naturally more creative and capable of producing solutions to the problems that engineers face.

“It’s frustrating and disappointing that the sector’s glaring gender disparity has not been fixed," she said. "If there was just one issue we would have fixed it by now, but there are just so many little parts that we need to fix.

“It is everything from the subtle ways that boys and girls are treated differently from birth that lead them in different directions. It’s down to the information that the decision makers they turn to – parents and teachers – have about engineering.

“There is a big job to do to increase public understanding of the important role engineering plays in our daily lives and get more young people, particularly girls, excited about the possibilities of an engineering career.”

Speaking to E&T last year after her appointment, Climer said that the UK lacks a robust engineering workforce and that attracting women to the sector would help to address this.

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