Eliminating Gender Inequality in Engineering, Industry, and Academia
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Gender equality in the workplace with its many facets is a current topic of great interest in many societies and across virtually all sectors. Women are seriously under-represented in senior positions within organizations and there is evidence of a continuing pay gap between women and men. Industry, commerce, business, law, medicine, engineering, academia all have responded to or are responding to the challenges of eliminating gender inequality. There are three specific reasons for this. The first is based on the principle that there is or should be a prevailing environment guaranteeing social justice and human rights for all. The second is in effect a question of parsimony by which talent should not be wasted. Finally, and the imperative for the elimination of gender inequality which is receiving the most attention today, is that of diversity. The diversity argument adds to the ‘not being wasteful’ by virtue of the range of different skills, perspectives and experiences that are brought to bear on whatever challenge is being faced. Tackling gender equality is a complex task requiring many interventions but what is clear is that there is broad agreement across the different sectors, including engineering, as to what is required. The key interventions include committed and determined leadership from the top of the organization over a sustained period of time, supports to ensure better work-life balance, developing future women leaders, and tackling unconscious bias. The evidence is unequivocal – gender balance will not be achieved automatically without a range of such interventions and failure to take action will have a major impact on the engineering profession’s ability to meet the needs of society today and tomorrow.
KeywordsGender (in)equality Unconscious bias Work-life balance Diversity Leadership
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