For its fourth year, NWED is going international. International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) takes place on 23 June and the campaign for 2017 has been launched. Set up in 2014 to celebrate the 95th anniversary of the Women’s Engineering Society this national, now international, awareness day focuses attention on the amazing careers in engineering and technical roles for girls, and allows us to celebrate the achievements of our outstanding women engineers.
The campaign was so successful in 2015 that it won three awards including the WISE Campaign Award, The Association Award for Best Social Media Campaign, and also contributed to the SEMTA Award for Diversity in Engineering.
In 2016 the day had a hugely positive impact with over 550 separate events being held on the day (including school events), over 350 schools across the UK involved in NWED celebrations, and over 1,500 downloads of the resource pack from the NWED website. Our campaign reached over 1 million people on social media via a ‘Thunderclap’ campaign on Twitter, the official hashtag #nwed2016 receiving over 15,000 posts on the day which saw the hashtag trending for around 8 hours on Twitter, second only to EU referendum-related posts. UNESCO patronage endorsed NWED 2016 worldwide and obtaining patronage for 2017 is in the works. NWED 2016 was reported in over 150 national and local newspapers and online articles in the UK and internationally. BBC and Sky News covered the day in their evening news slots, and BBC Woman’s Hour also featured women in engineering, along with a number of radio shows.
Kirsten Bodley, Interim CEO of Women’s Engineering Society says: “We’re really pleased to have so much support for International Women in Engineering Day this year and aim to increase our reach to a wider audience with our theme of ‘Men as Allies’; raising the profile of the opportunities available to women in engineering. We’re also delighted to be working with The Daily Telegraph to announce the Top 50 Women in Engineering under 35 as part of the INWED17 celebrations on 23 June.”
With this day we are aiming to influence society as a whole by focusing positive attention on the role of engineering, and in particular the part that women in engineering play and the career opportunities that exist. Much international publicity was also generated because of the day. In 2015 and 2016 we had several non-UK events and in 2017 we would like to spread this day more widely beyond the UK, with an ultimate aim of having it be recognised as a Global Day to celebrate women’s achievements in engineering. Even .without official global promotion, the previous years saw participation from Kuwait, India, Ireland and South Africa, and more countries made further enquiries. Already in 2017 we have had enquiries from the United States, Canada, Ireland and Malaysia and we fully expect these countries to be supporting the day with events.
Through the International Network of Women Engineers and Scientists (INWES) we are encouraging other European countries, particularly those with no local date celebrating women engineers, to take up INWED. INWED aims to make the day international, however, our ethos is to ensure our promotional activities support rather than replace any existing international days already in place in these nations.
In 2017 we will again see a partnership with The Daily Telegraph to announce the Top 50 Women in Engineering under 35. This will be coordinated by the Daily Telegraph and with partners including Bechtel, Scottish Power and BAE Systems. Nominations opened on 23 February 2017 and close on 12 May 2017.
International Women in Engineering Day has several early sponsors on board for 2017, including Engineers Ireland’s STEPS Programme, Cirrus Logic, Building Engineering Services Association, Wiley, Royal Academy of Engineering, Colas Limited, Boeing, SSE, Cranfield University, QinetiQ and the Institute of Refrigeration. Many of our sponsors have offices outside the UK and are planning to hold INWED events across these offices.