Dr. A. Cagla Balaban, a civil engineer from the University of Greenwich, is leading by example and is determined to get more young women into engineering.
The UK continues to lag behind the rest of Europe when it comes to female engineers. According to 2018 figures from The Women's Engineering Society (WES), the UK has the lowest percentage of female engineering professionals in Europe – at just 10% of the workforce. This compares poorly to other nations such as Latvia, Bulgaria and Cyprus who lead with almost 30%.
Dr Balaban's role is an important one, as women are often under-represented in engineering, especially in the UK.
She says: "My father has a construction company in Turkey, and I was lucky to have someone who could answer my questions about the field, and he has encouraged me to be an engineer since the beginning. I think it is quite important to have someone around that can explain you not only advantages but also disadvantages of the profession that you are deciding to go into and have an education on it."
Boosting the number of women in engineering is important not only for gender diversity but also for the UK economy. STEM companies (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) contribute over a quarter of the UK's GDP – around £127.6 trillion to the public purse.
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"It is important for girls to have role models that inspire them to be an engineer, they can keep motivation and aim to achieve their goals. I am glad to be a role model as a woman engineer for my female engineering students."