Jaguar Land Rover has gone into the classroom to encourage more girls to become engineers, as women make up just 11% of UK automotive industry engineers. Research shows just a quarter of girls aged 16-18 would consider an engineering career. Britain’s biggest car maker is committed to inspiring more girls into STEM subjects.
Women currently make up 12.7% of the company’s engineering workforce. Jaguar Land Rover is keen to show how gender attitudes are established at an early age – and how inspirational women can challenge them.
To celebrate Women in Engineering Day a group of primary school children met Charlotte Cooper, who told them about engineering and asked them to draw a picture of an engineer.
All but one of the children drew a man, so they were very surprised to be told Charlotte is a Jaguar Land Rover engineer who worked on the Range Rover Sport SVR – the fastest and most powerful Land Rover yet.
Charlotte Cooper, Innovation Engineer at Jaguar Land Rover, and a member of the company’s Women in Engineering & Allies Network said: “It was such a delight to meet these youngsters and to show them the value of challenging their assumptions. My career in engineering has proved so rewarding, but I remain in a minority. I’m proud of the efforts of Jaguar Land Rover to redress this gender imbalance and I look forward to what the future holds for the engineering industry in the UK and around the world.”
Tackling gender bias requires early action, with school initiatives to encourage girls to study STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects. For instance only 20% of current A-level physics students are female.
Recent research by Women in Engineering found that just 25% of girls aged 16-18 would consider a career in engineering, compared to 52% of boys the same age. Currently only 11% of British engineers are women.
Nick Rogers, Executive Director of Product Engineering at Jaguar Land Rover, said: “We hope to inspire the female engineers of tomorrow, because we believe that a diverse and inclusive team is essential for the creation of innovative, pioneering products that will meet the changing needs of our global customers."
"In order to truly provide equal opportunities we need to challenge traditional perceptions of STEM careers from a young age, which Charlotte Cooper has done by encouraging children to study science, technology, engineering and maths. We’re really excited to help celebrate International Women in Engineering Day and the great work the Women’s Engineering Society does to inspire the next generation of technically curious engineers.”
Elizabeth Donnelly, CEO at Women's Engineering Society, said: “The Women’s Engineering Society is delighted that Jaguar Land Rover are celebrating International Women in Engineering Day by encouraging more girls into car design. Engineers are at the forefront of solving climate change, and the vehicles of the future will play a huge part in reducing global emissions. I can’t think of a more exciting time for girls to pursue a career in automotive engineering, or any type of engineering for that matter.”