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More women should become engineers, urges University of Lincoln head

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: September 11, 2012

Jill Stewart

Key role: Dr Jill Stewart

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Women are being urged to roll up their sleeves and take up an engineering career by a pioneer in the industry.

Dr Jill Stewart, head of the University of Lincoln's engineering school, has reached a prestigious milestone by being appointed a fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

Only those who have made an exceptional contribution to the field of engineering are offered a fellowship.

Aged 36, Dr Stewart is one of the youngest engineers ever to be accepted by the institution.

Now, she is encouraging more females with an interest in mechanics and engines to consider an engineering career.

Dr Stewart said: "I don't know the exact figures but, like any engineering organisations, we always need more female representation.

"Female engineers should try to be more visible so young women realise that this is a career option for them. I think about all of the women who I did my degree with and they are all professional engineers having successful careers.

"It's probably too early to know what my graduates are going to get up to but I would hope they would stay involved as anything else might seem a waste of what is a huge talent.

"Engineering is one of those degrees which is tough and I tend to find that people have a very clear intention of what they are going to do with the rest of their lives, unlike perhaps subjects without such clear career paths."

Professor Isobel Pollock, president of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said: "The under-representation of women in engineering is a major issue, causing the sector to miss out on a huge pool of potential talent.

"The Institution is working hard to attract more women into engineering, and role models at the top of their profession, like Dr Stewart, are absolutely instrumental in helping to inspire the next generation of female engineers."

Nick Muntz, the managing director of Siemens in Lincoln, added that he would welcome more female engineers.

He said: "We do a lot of work making engineering available for everyone and making sure it doesn't become identified as a male-only environment.

"We've seen exceptional payback from going into schools to talk to pupils about engineering and we have both excellent male and female apprentices.

"But we would like to see more females in engineering. When you level out the playing field you get the best possible people and the female engineers we do have are all extremely good."

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