SFC news published since 2018. See SFC archived content for earlier news articles.

Blog – Tapping All Our Talents

News – International Women’s Day:  Press for Progress

The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) is proud to support International Women in Engineering Day 2018
(23 June), and encourage more young women to follow in the footsteps of people like former engineering student Bunmi Onanuga, who studied HNC Women in Engineering at City of Glasgow College.

“It may require a bit of hard work, but it is very rewarding when you put in the hours. There is no better time to start than now”, she says.

Fellow former student Laura Philips says “I think we all agree that more women need to be encouraged into the sector. STEM education creates critical thinkers and enables the next generation of innovators so anything we can do to encourage women, no matter their age or background, is very important.”

“The advice I would give to other women would be, to take the first step. You don’t know what you are capable of until you challenge yourself. If you stay in your comfort zone nothing will ever change. The journey may not always be easy; however, the satisfaction of achieving what you set out to do is worth any short-term sacrifices.”

College Engineering lecturer Jill Fisher says it’s just as important to have more women teaching the subject as well.

“Gender equality in the workplace neutralises any stereotypical views learners may have, and gives young female engineers a chance to show they are more than capable of doing a ‘man’s job’. In my experience all I needed was a chance.”

“Every person thinks differently and having a range of ideas and experiences is the most innovative approach a company can adopt.”

City of Glasgow CollegeDouglas Morrison, who is the College’s STEM and Innovation Lead and a SFC advisor on gender-related issues says “we need to promote a collectively shared and consistent message to those who are either disengaged or non-engaged in the conversation, if we are to make women in engineering a more culturally accepted norm”.

“We recognise that gender equality is a fundamental human right and that the realisation of a fair, equal and inclusive society will ultimately contribute to long-term, sustainable and inclusive growth,” he says.

SFC data shows women made up 23% of all participants enrolled in college engineering courses in
2016-17, up 9 percentage points from the previous year.

SFC board member Professor Lesley Yellowlees CBE says these stories are great examples of the work already underway to address gender inequality in STEM.

“However, there is clearly much more work to be done – not only in STEM subjects, but across the further and higher education sector.”

“As a member of the SFC board I am very supportive of the targets it has set and the work that is being done around gender action plans in Scotland’s universities and colleges, with the ambition that no college or university subject will have a gender imbalance greater than 75% by 2030.”