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Young Woman Engineer of the Year award - end the gender discrimination
Joseph Silmon 38242929
Joined 30/05/2003 - 34 Posts
Starting a campaign to abolish Young Woman Engineer of the Year or replace it with a non-discriminatory equivalent
62 Replies
Lisa Miles 76762696
Joined 30/05/2003 - 1194 Posts
I'm very disappointed by the views being expressed here...
 

I am sorry to see that Young Woman of the Year Award now has a religious sub-category, [E&T Vol 14 Issue 4 May 2019, inside back cover].


James, your comments on 'religious subcategories' is completely incorrect and inappropriate. How have you come to that conclusion just by looking at the advertisement on the inside rear cover of last months E&T magazine? It does not state any such thing anywhere within that advert. The advert contains images of previous winners Sophie Harker, Dr Ozak Esu, Shajida Akthar and Lorna Bennet 

I'm now locking this resurrected thread (originally started in 2012) as the content within it is out of date. 



 
John Sim 11001209646
Joined 09/02/2019 - 70 Posts

James Shaw:
Agreed.

The E&T Magazine in particular increasingly seems to be telling us to act according to the new orthodoxy on so many subjects,

The E&T Magazine has declined in to irrelevance.   I can't remember the last time I read an interesting article in it.   Now they're lifting stories from the general media, such as teardown for an electronic gadget or the artistic recreation of a rocket's blueprints (not enough to actually build a rocket!).
 


I find it a very frightening orthodoxy, our use of language is being inverted. The radicals used to claim that unity was strength, hence the trades unions, now apparently strength comes from diversity!

Politicians tell us with a straight face that they will not tolerate intolerance, (tolerate, to put up with, now becomes 'embrace' or promote).

I had this discussion before with a friend.   Essentially to "tolerate" is to state there is a problem with someone but you put up with it.   Often used where diversity is with gender, sexuality, or race.   Tolerance is to say that your race is wrong, your gender is wrong, or your religious beliefs are wrong.   What I said was that it should be "acceptance" because there is no problems with someone's life choices (assuming they're not trying to kill you!), or how they were born as they can't change that.
 


One might hope that the world of engineering would be a bastion of rationality but not if the IET has its way - 'equality' means women winning all the prizes,the message to all our boys is don't even bother.

I would much prefer it if the IET had Young Engineer Of The Year and then offered prizes for male or female.   Two categories and promoted each equally.    It's one reason why I'm leaving the IET - I've had enough.

They're no longer representing electronic & electrical engineers.

They've got a gender bias.

Their output is increasing irrelevant.

I'm pulling the ripcord.

Next problem is getting the engineering council to recognise another body that does represent us engineers now the IET has abandoned us.
 


Fortunately biological sex no longer exists or at most is 'a social construct'. Gender is Queen so we can all 'transition'!

Maybe that's what we need to do?   "Transition"?    Going to be difficult to find size 11 stilettos...
 
James Shaw 15318434
Joined 29/05/2012 - 205 Posts
Agreed.

The E&T Magazine in particular increasingly seems to be telling us to act according to the new orthodoxy on so many subjects, as if we all need to be re-educated and we aren't getting enough of the same line from the likes of the BBC or The Guardian.

I find it a very frightening orthodoxy, our use of language is being inverted. The radicals used to claim that unity was strength, hence the trades unions, now apparently strength comes from diversity! Politicians tell us with a straight face that they will not tolerate intolerance, (tolerate, to put up with, now becomes 'embrace' or promote). The social pressure to conform, to be 'PC', increases as Facebook and Twitter act as both gatekeepers of opinion and enablers of the witch-hunters, The police, unable to catch real criminals, urge the public to report 'hurtful' remarks, 'even though they are not illegal'. One might hope that the world of engineering would be a bastion of rationality but not if the IET has its way - 'equality' means women winning all the prizes,the message to all our boys is don't even bother. Fortunately biological sex no longer exists or at most is 'a social construct'. Gender is Queen so we can all 'transition'!
John Sim 11001209646
Joined 09/02/2019 - 70 Posts

James Shaw:
John,

I wouldn't expect to see football team or political party colours either so why this?

Actually this competition would make more sense if it was old woman engineer of the year, that at least would show young women that it was possible to have a career in engineering!

Thank you for posting.   Not quite a subcategory!   But I see your point of them reinforcing a stereotype.   Alas, they also forgot to mention that Islamic countries tend to object to women being educated - See Malala Yousafzai for details!

One of the problems with a lot of the IET's media output is that it's chocked full of stock images.   Pictures photographers have taken in fairly generic situations to represent a cross spectrum of possibilities.   I've been asking them to explain who the people are and their relevance to engineering!   Sadly, all go unanswered.

If the IET can't find engineers, any engineer, worth photographing, to promote engineering what are they doing?   Using generic stock photographs that you see being used elsewhere effectively means the IET is irrelevant.   If it was one or two, you could understand, but this is practically every single bit of media going on Facebook or Instagram - which today is the face of the IET.

Sadly the IET with the rebranding of a pink equals sign really was the death of it.   They're running their own social experiment using member's funds.   I'm not against them promoting engineering for all genders, but in the IET's world they only concentrate on one and it's not male.   Even promoting engineering in general seems to only be at school level as we've seen with recent events at Savoy Place.   Only at Savoy Place and with the recent closure of the Scottish office the London centric bias just got stronger.

So if you're female, in a London school, of a certain religion, the IET wants to hear from you.   Otherwise, don't call.
   
James Shaw 15318434
Joined 29/05/2012 - 205 Posts
John,

e7a3a0f8acb3a9799beba5c2a56b1e47-huge-yw
I wouldn't expect to see football team or political party colours either so why this?

Actually this competition would make more sense if it was old woman engineer of the year, that at least would show young women that it was possible to have a career in engineering!
John Sim 11001209646
Joined 09/02/2019 - 70 Posts

James Shaw:
I am sorry to see that Young Woman of the Year Award now has a religious sub-category, [E&T Vol 14 Issue 4 May 2019, inside back cover].

I don't have a copy but could you post a picture please? 
James Shaw 15318434
Joined 29/05/2012 - 205 Posts
I am sorry to see that Young Woman of the Year Award now has a religious sub-category, [E&T Vol 14 Issue 4 May 2019, inside back cover].
mbirdi 23457801
Joined 14/06/2005 - 1208 Posts
The IET often uses 10 year cycles before deciding on changes. By that time decision makers will have retired and so consequences of blame and change won't affect them.

Give it a few more years and the whole thing will be scrapped.
Joseph Silmon 38242929
Joined 30/05/2003 - 34 Posts
Just because there is no reason women should not be engineers is not the same thing as saying the door is open for them


I wasn't suggesting we don't have role models at all. It's fine to say the door is open to all. What I have been saying all along is that it doesn't take a woman to say those things - anybody can say it.

I agree about positive action, but YWE's eligibility rules go much further than that, though - it's not just positive action but a form of discrimination, call it positive or negative it's still unfair and I think it's a bad example to set if we want women to feel they are competing in an even playing field.

Maybe we don't want that. Maybe we want women engineers to feel they'll get an easy ride, but I doubt that somehow, because we wouldn't retain them for long as once they discover the harsh realities they would up and leave.

I notice you mention self-belief, Graham, I think that is key to the entire thing and I don't think it's something we can do a lot about as it depends much more on the teachers and parents of young people. I see our role as more spreading awareness of the opportunities - it's up to parents and teachers to inspire young people with the belief that they can take up the opportunities we offer.

Just to give an example of this, a couple of years ago I hosted a work experience student from a comprehensive school in Tipton (in a particularly deprived area of the West Midlands). This young woman hugely impressed me with her enthusiasm, quick learning and initative. She'd ended up with us (a university research department) because she'd expressed an interest in physics and her teachers had turned to contacts at the University to try to set up a placement; in the end, instead of Physics she got Electronic Engineering, because I was available to spend the time and nobody from Physics was. This wasn't an ideal situation and must have been hugely intimidating for her (coming from a community where very few people attend university and unemployment in general is very high), but I met one of her teachers and it was clear he'd been instrumental in helping her realise her interests, fuelling her self-belief and ambitions. He was so full of pride over this bright young woman that he was fit to burst. This teacher was the one who had the opportunity to put time and effort into inspiring this young woman. You'll note that the teacher is male.

I would argue that it is there that the power exists to kindle self-belief - all we can do as outsiders to the day-to-day lives of young people is to show them the opportunities that are available to them.

You don't have to be female to do that.


On a slightly more flippant note, but perhaps pointing out how ridiculous it is to have a prize open to only one gender, what would happen if a transgender person were nominated? Would they have to undergo some kind of medical before being accepted as eligible? Would pre-op male-to-female transexuals be accepted? Their own identity might well be female, yet their physiology would be male.

Here are a couple of things I think we can do to show ourselves as being more open, without having a "you're a good engineer, for a girl" prize:

1 - Stop referring to engineering/science as a "male-dominated" profession. It implies there's some kind of conspiracy to keep women out. I wouldn't even talk about the gender balance unless asked. Then point out that the disparity occurs at the stage of application, rather than being a result of discrimination in selection for education or jobs. Also point out that these days many more women are applying and working in the industry than used to be the case. This must surely be true, if my own observations bear out across the industry.

2 - Open up the issue of diversity - it's not just about women and men, it's about disabled people, certain ethnic minorities, and most of all about people from poor families. The diversity section of our output to students should focus on the ways that are open for every sector of society to take part. For example, a slide showing how poor students will always be able to afford to attend university (remember, they have been told a lot of lies by certain political groups who haven't realised that the rubbish they talk is effecting the very social change they claim to oppose).

3 - Select case studies that reflect the diversity of the population. I don't have a problem with that - deliberately doing a slide on a woman engineer you know because you want all the audience to see someone "like them". It's the paying them £1000 for it that I have a problem with.
Graham Prebble 20321306
Joined 25/11/2002 - 192 Posts
Err .. no Joe, I don't agree with that. Societies need role models, heroes, aspiration. In a field dominated by one gender there is a pervasive view that it 'must not be for me'.

I am a school governor and we get this all the time - it take positive action (not the same thing as positive discrimination) to encourage, educate and give belief to do something that's not typically 'of your gender'. That includes science, engineering etc for girls and food sciences etc for boys.

Just because there is no reason women should not be engineers is not the same thing as saying the door is open for them, its up to them, and they don't need any encouragement.

Discuss ?

Originally posted by: z315870

Graham, I think you defeat your own argument here!



If there is no justifiable reason for women to be less proficient engineers than men, then there is also no justifiable reason for men to be less proficient than women at being good engineering role models.



Ergo this award should be ope to all.



Discuss?
Joseph Silmon 38242929
Joined 30/05/2003 - 34 Posts
Brilliant! Please vote, folks!
Jonathan Wilson 91303481
Joined 16/05/2007 - 2 Posts
And for what it's worth, here's the E&T news report on the 2011 winner:

http://eandt.theiet.org/news/2011/dec/iet-award.cfm

Whichever side of the debate you stand on, you've got to admit that Charlotte Joyce looks pretty pleased with her award, if not her proximity to Myleene Klass.
Jonathan Wilson 91303481
Joined 16/05/2007 - 2 Posts
Hello,

You might like to read E&T's For & Against debate on this issue from issue 18, 2010:

http://eandt.theiet.org/magazine/2010/18/debate.cfm

Alice Delahunty argues the case for the Young Woman Engineer of the year award: Suzanne Boothman argues the case against.

As it happens, you can still vote on this topic. At the moment the case against is slightly ahead.
Phil Weston 70717096
Joined 11/10/2007 - 629 Posts
I vote for 3, because it keeps it fair and yet does not diminish the stated value/role of the YWE award.

Regards.
Joseph Silmon 38242929
Joined 30/05/2003 - 34 Posts
I'm really glad that the initial (deliberately inflammatory) post has provoked such an interesting discussion and brought out lots of thoughts and evidence that I didn't know about.

Can I call a straw poll? Here are the alternatives I think we've identified:

1: Carry on as we are now - YWE award only

2: Make it Young Engineer of the Year award like other institutions (i.e. ONE award open to BOTH genders)

3: Keep YWE and add "YME" as well to have something equivalent that is open to men.

I vote for 2, because I think that is the fairest, and I think that the most attractive thing we can do to interest young technically-minded applicants is to assure them ALL that they will be on a level playing field.
Rhys Phillips 1100171819
Joined 01/04/2010 - 51 Posts
And here's more evidence of bad female role models:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZtMmt5rC6g
Rhys Phillips 1100171819
Joined 01/04/2010 - 51 Posts
It is also worth pointing out that this year's Young Engineer of the Year was Jessica Jones from Cardiff. Her award was made on the basis of a technical project she made and not because she'd be seen as some sort of role model. As it happens, knowing her, I think she'll be great at going back into schools and inspiring those a few years below her. But she didn't need a specific women's award to achieve any of this.
Rhys Phillips 1100171819
Joined 01/04/2010 - 51 Posts
Originally posted by: StewartTaylor

Perhaps there's another aspect of these awards that gets missed in all the talk of role models.



If you really want to impress people with what an engineer can achieve, the youngsters aren't really the people to do it. Finding professionally mature engineers who have really achieved something big sounds to me to be a lot more promising. Yes, the 'young engineer' is perhaps closer to where the potential student is now, but all that says is 'it's not very far away'. What it doesn't say (with all due respect to the young engineers who undoubtedly have huge potential) is "Look! This is what you can achieve as an engineer!", which I think must have more potential to inspire enthusiam.


Sorry Stewart but I don't agree. It all depends on the individual and makes little difference what they've achieved and what age they are. It's how good they are at communicating that is key. Generally, we find that children can more easily relate to someone closer to their own age and this works better. However that doesn't mean that all 'yougnsters' are good at it. It also doesn't mean that there aren't older engineers who are great at enthusing young minds.
Rhys Phillips 1100171819
Joined 01/04/2010 - 51 Posts
Originally posted by: amillar

Role models may not have worked for you, but they do work for many others, it's one of the most commonly cited reasons for anyone to enter any profession. Whether we are using the YWE winners (or any other engineers) effectively as role models is, perhaps, a better question.


I think this is key. I don't think it matters what the age, race, gender etc. of the role model is or even what their job is. The question is can they make the field seem exciting, engaging and accessible to the people they are talking to. So there's no reason why a 60 year old man can't successfully be used as a role model to school girls for engineering, as long as he goes about it in the right way.

If this is the premise of the awards then it doesn't work because I don't see how they decide on whether the recipient is any good at doing this or not.
Phil Weston 70717096
Joined 11/10/2007 - 629 Posts
Originally posted by: amillar
And the seperate category is not to make it "easier" for women to win!!!!

But is that not an argument that people will use in the real world or was that too obvious!! It is easier by default because we have excluded most of those who can apply for it.....do the maths.
Unless someone can prove the YWE is actually destructive (not just that they feel a bit grumpy about it) I'm not sure that this discussion is getting anywhere. It just seems to suggest that there are a number of active IET memebers who are happy with the status quo and do not want to support those who are trying to improve it.

No actually Andy some of us suggested a compromise solution of also having a young man engineer of the year award so do try to avoid the 'do not want to support those who are trying to improve it' statements. It was yourself who was unable to find a way to find a compromise solution and dimiss a young male engineer of the year award as not being of much value.

Most other institutions have an award which both genders can apply for, why? Do you think they are all grumpy or are not trying to improve things or maybe do you think they may actually have throught it through a bit more than the IET?

Regards.
Andy Millar 33788107
Joined 28/05/2002 - 1670 Posts
Originally posted by: StewartTaylor
Point taken. But I would say that even though I'm well past 55 and losing my hair I don't feel corporate (in either sense of the term)!

BTW I'm not quite 55 (though sadly not far off).

He has a global reputation, he's 42 and doesn't look even slightly corporate or stuffy. Can't we find some more?

Sure, it would be great. It would be excellent if the IET education department could identify a number of such people and find a way to present them to schools and universities. It is quite hard to achieve though, I remember in my school days we used to get talks about world-leading figures, but their achievemnts seemed so unattainable it was actually off-putting. My experience is that you actually need to get them into genuinly live presentations (not IETTV!) where their combination of ordinariness and extraordinariness can come through. (i.e. "This may seem extraordinary, but look at me - I started just like you. You could do this as well.")

Of course this is what the STEM ambassador programme is about, we're trying to do this in a small way all the time.

So, like all things, it's getting the right mix.

P.S. I really appreciate your positive and helpful contributions to this thread!

Anyway, I'm off now for a week as I'm going to be supporting young people of multiple genders in finding whatever path they want into science and technology
Andy Millar 33788107
Joined 28/05/2002 - 1670 Posts
My only point was about the "male" bit, not about young engineer awards in general. Sorry, but I would have thought that was pretty obvious.

And the seperate category is not to make it "easier" for women to win!!!! The point is to specifically identify young women who can act as role models, and - through marketing the award - market the fact that there are role models that organisations can use to support their work. Maybe there are better ways of doing this, but if so let's find them.

Unless someone can prove the YWE is actually destructive (not just that they feel a bit grumpy about it) I'm not sure that this discussion is getting anywhere. It just seems to suggest that there are a number of active IET memebers who are happy with the status quo and do not want to support those who are trying to improve it.

And it's raining again.
Phil Weston 70717096
Joined 11/10/2007 - 629 Posts
Originally posted by: amillar
Might do. Seems pretty unlikely though. "Hello, I'm the Male Engineer of the Year" "Errr...aren't most engineers male?"

To quote "Awards such as this recognise the hard work and dedication shown by young engineers and can hopefully be an inspiration to others. This generation of young engineers will be leading the industry in 20 years time in an ever more demanding and sustainability conscious environment."
That's from the 'Young Structural Engineer of the Year Award 2011' runner up....a male. Do you think he entered so that if he won he could say ""Hello, I'm the Male Engineer of the Year" "Errr...aren't most engineers male?"

Interestingly it was won by a woman who can claim to have won the award fairly and squarely rather than having to have her own category to make it 'easier' for her to win.

Then we have ECS student Andrew Cowan was named Young Engineer of the Year at the British Science Association's " "I'm extremely honoured and proud to be awarded such a prestigious title. The standard of entries was so high which made the finals incredibly tense at times. I'm now really looking forward to representing engineering for young people and I hope my project inspires lots of other people to do the same and pursue a career in engineering."

As Young Engineer of the Year Andrew will now play a role as an Ambassador for Engineering. "My key role will be to encourage young people into studying and taking up a career in engineering," he said. "I'm looking forward to being able to talk at events throughout the year to promote engineering."

Then we have the UK government offering an award http://www.theengineer.co.uk/p...ineers/1010934.article and again open to both genders.

Seems these awards mean something to those young male engineers.

Regards.
William Taylor 21943534
Joined 18/01/2003 - 52 Posts
Andy,

Point taken. But I would say that even though I'm well past 55 and losing my hair I don't feel corporate (in either sense of the term)!

Seriously though 'professsionally mature' didn't mean as old as us, more like late 30s or so. Actually, although it's not billed as engineering the Thomas Heatherwick: Making exhibition at the V&A had some pretty neat engineering on show. He's a 'designer' but a lot of good engineering by lots of people goes into the stuff they make. He has a global reputation, he's 42 and doesn't look even slightly corporate or stuffy. Can't we find some more?
Andy Millar 33788107
Joined 28/05/2002 - 1670 Posts
Should have added (and just this afternoon seen a lovely example) that mature and highly experienced engineers make fantastic mentors for young people: particularly in getting over ideas of integrity, team working, understanding the bigger picture etc etc. I'd suggest in general that this works better as a longer term relationship to get over the "awe" factor.

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