The future of engineering in Ireland depends on female involvement and convergence to IT.
In fact, women have been described as the great “untapped resource” of the profession, according to Regina Moran, president of Engineers Ireland and CEO of Fujitsu Ireland.
“We must find ways of attracting girls and boys to join forces with us and tackle some of the world’s greatest challenges,” she said at a Waterford Institute of Technology talk today.
Moran claimed that just 8pc of Engineers Ireland members are female, evidence that women represent a small fraction of all engineers in the country.
“However, there are some positive signals,” she said, “and more women are now choosing engineering and recognise the variety of opportunities available to them in critical areas, such as technology, energy and life sciences.”
Technology has a part to play, too, with convergence between today’s IT and structural progress a major factor in the future of engineering.
“You cannot design a bridge without technology, and you cannot design a smartphone without engineering,” said Moran, citing the internet of things as a prime differentiator between today’s engineering world and that of a decade ago.
“In 2013, 10bn devices were connected to the internet. We expect this to reach 50bn by 2020. The internet of things, our hyper-connected world, big data are just some of the trends that will impact on engineering and will affect how we as engineers come together to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges.
“If we are to leverage all this potential, we will need many more highly skilled engineers, both men and women.”
Women Invent Tomorrow is Silicon Republic’s campaign to champion the role of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. It has been running since March 2013, and is kindly supported by Accenture Ireland, Intel, the Irish Research Council, ESB, Twitter, CoderDojo and Science Foundation Ireland.
Inspire 2015 is Silicon Republic’s international event running 18-19 June in Dublin that connects sci-tech professionals passionate about the future of STEM with fresh perspectives on leadership, innovation and diversity. Buy your early bird tickets now!
Female engineer image via Shutterstock