Celebrating International Women in Engineering Day 2022

23 Jun 22

Ethos Women share their experience and advice for the female engineers of tomorrow.

In celebration of International Women in Engineering Day this year, we are recognising the incredible work that women in the engineering field have done to better the lives and livelihoods of communities every day.

This year, we asked our amazing community of women at Ethos about their experience in the engineering field.

There was great variation in their answers, but one thing stayed the same: they wanted to see more women in the engineering field.

According to Engineers Ireland, women make up just 12 percent of the profession in Ireland in 2022. Despite this, 84 percent of female engineers believe that engineering is a fulfilling career and 71 percent have confidence in Irish job opportunities.

However, there is still a long way to go when it comes to inclusivity in the engineering and construction industries.

At Ethos, we recognise this, and we are taking steps to ensure that we are a workplace where women feel welcomed and supported.

In 2021 and 2022 alone, Ethos has more than doubled our female staff. Currently we have 27 female staff across a team of 142 people. This brings Ethos above national average of our industry at approximately 19 percent, with hopes to grow this number by Q4 of 2022.

In a further breakdown, 2019 saw Ethos hiring 5 additional female staff, putting the total at just 7 women. In 2020, we hired 4 more women, putting us at 11. 2021 is when we surpassed the industry average with 5 new hires, it put Ethos at a total of 16 women. As it currently stands, 2022 has seen 11 new female staff, totalling 27 overall in the company of 142 people.

We also implemented monthly women’s lunches, where we meet and find time to catch up with our female colleagues and create a network of further support within the company.

But the inclusion, support and encouragement of women and girls in engineering should not just start in the workplace.

Susan Cormican, Ethos Director of Urbanism, said she believes women’s trajectory into the engineering field can only happen by giving girls the option to study related subjects.

“In speaking with female 3rd level students and graduates about why they don’t pick engineering as a career, the most common reason is no access to relevant subjects in girls’ schools,” Cormican said. “That has to change - the Department of Education and Skills needs to ensure all schools provide access to all subjects, even if it’s a sharing of facilities with an adjacent boys’ school.”

However, women have made many strides in driving equality in engineering thus far. They continue to make valuable contributions and provide dynamic insights, which in turn improve the field immensely.

Clodagh Parkinson, an electrical intern on the Urbanism Team, said she likes to work in the engineering field because it is beneficial to her community.

“It’s great after a project to have something working and tangible to show for it - It makes it a very rewarding profession,” Parkinson said. “The most rewarding thing about my job is that after working on a project, I know that I’ve helped people on my team to further progress in a project that will help others in the community.”

Lauren Kock, BIM Manager, said she also finds the career rewarding, particularly when she sees all the hard work come to life.

“There is a great sense of satisfaction that goes with executing projects successfully as well as having clients happy enough to return,” she said.

Andricke Smith, Design Engineer on Data Centre Team, said she has always found the industry very supportive, especially for those that are willing to put in the work.

“I have had incredible mentors throughout the years and have always found this industry tough but fair,” she said. “You will always get out what you put in as long as you speak up and stand your ground.”

Echoing that sentiment, many of the Ethos women feel that they have been supported and welcomed by their colleagues. In particular, they appreciate the mentorship from senior leaders.

“I’ve been fortunate enough in my career to always have great senior women to work alongside with and to learn from them as mentors,” Andrea Van Eeden, Project Engineer on Urbanism Team, said.

Overall, the strength and achievements of women in engineering is something to celebrate.

After 30 years in the industry, Susan Cormican leaves us with this:

“My proudest accomplishment is the part I have tried to play in encouraging women into the engineering profession and supporting them as much as I can through their career. I think women add a balance that was lacking in the past and the industry is becoming a better place to work due, in part, to a better gender mix.”

Happy International Women in Engineering Day, from all of us at Ethos Engineering.