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Women in Engineering

Engineering is a fulfilling career like no other – for both sexes


Traditionally, engineering has been perceived as a male orientated sphere of expertise.


Many people may, therefore, be surprised to hear that the first female engineering graduate in Ireland earned her degree a little more than 110 years ago. The woman in question was none other than Ms Alice Perry of Wellpark, County Galway.


In 1906, Perry graduated top of her class with an honours degree in civil engineering and became the first female engineering graduate in Europe.


Despite Perry’s achievement the gender imbalance persists, with 1,000 female and 4,000 male engineers in the field of pharmaceutical engineering in Ireland today.


This is despite the fact that girls are keeping pace with and passing out boys in the subjects necessary for progression to engineering degrees – science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).


Statistics from last year’s Leaving Certificate show that while girls studied STEM subjects in fewer numbers than boys, those who did performed as well if not better than their male peers.


If we rule out academic performance, the reason we are left with to explain the lower number of women to men in engineering is simply motivation. And the only way to combat that is to highlight the many rewarding opportunities a career in engineering can offer both sexes.


Engineering is one of the few professions in which you are involved with every step of the development of an idea.


Civil engineers, for instance, are involved in the planning and construction of each project. They get to physically see the things they create, from our motorways to our rail networks and more. Every day presents a new challenge or obstacle to overcome.


Software engineers get to feel the excitement of being on the forefront of invention.  From designing complex security programmes to the addictive games we all get so much joy from, the software engineer gets the satisfaction of seeing others use their design for all sorts of purposes.


Environmental engineers address serious issues like energy preservation, air pollution control, recycling, waste disposal, environmental sustainability and public health.


When you boil all of this down, the work undertaken by engineers is aimed at improving the lives of people, both at home and around the globe – surely there can be no greater satisfaction in a career than that.


From an opportunity perspective, there could not be a better time to embark on a career in engineering. The Government is planning to spend €42 billion during the next five years on capital projects such as housing, schools, public transport, broadband and health facilities.


These plans rest on a supply of engineering skills, meaning a wealth of opportunities for both sexes.


Demand is also incredibly high for qualified graduates to feed into the multinationals who have made Ireland their home, and also into the many indigenous companies in existence today.


There is a diverse range of specialised engineering disciplines, including but not limited to: civil and environmental; computing and communication; energy and power; manufacturing and design; medical and bio-engineering; transport and mechanical.


For more information on the job opportunities in engineering, contact HERO Recruitment Galway on (091) 730022; Cork on (021) 2066287; Dublin on (01) 6190279. Visit www.hero.ie or find HERO Recruitment on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter.

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