Professional engineering institutions (PEIs), including IChemE, will early next year roll out a comprehensive new tool to assess and monitor diversity and inclusion across their activities.
The framework, developed by the UK's Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) and the Science Council, makes it easier for professional bodies to assess how well they are doing at promoting diversity and inclusion and compare their progress with similar bodies.
Launching the framework at the Institution of Civil Engineers in London, Philip Greenish, CEO of the RAEng, noted that while there have been many initiatives over the years to promote greater diversity in science and engineering, much remains to be done. The UK has the lowest percentage of female engineers in Europe, at 10%. That compares with around 30% in some Eastern European countries such as Latvia.
He said: 'The statistics are embarrassing. The share of women studying engineering is stuck at 15% and hasn't moved in years, and only 8% of professional engineers are female. It's even worse for ethnic minorities – they make up 25% of students but only 6% of the engineering workforce.'
Explaining the rationale for the framework, Bola Fatimilehin, head of diversity at the RAEng, said that PEIs have been good at communicating benefits of diversity but have been less engaged in monitoring and reporting on progress. The framework will help them assess how well they are doing across eight categories, ranging from governance to accreditation, and suggest how they can improve their performance.
Members of IChemE will also be invited to contribute via a pan-engineering culture and inclusion survey which will be open from 4–27 January.
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