Despite ongoing efforts to recruit and retain women in third level engineering programmes in Ireland, there is still a lack of diversity in these programmes with typically fewer than 20% of students being female. This paper will describe the evolution of a female focused university wide network called WITU (Women in Technology United), which aims to retain female students in engineering and technology programmes, and to increase the number of gender minorities coming onto these programmes. It is also a response to the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly, SDG 4 (quality education), and SDG 5 (gender equality), and addresses actions highlighted in a recent Athena Swan review in our University. The network was formed in 2020 and extended to become University wide during lockdown, which in itself presented specific challenges. This paper describes the activities of the WITU network which runs events and celebrations for female students on our engineering and technology programmes such as ‘Meet & Greet’ events for incoming year one students, scholarship workshops, coding camps and International Women’s Day celebrations. The events are run collaboratively with students, academics and employer networks, with participation from recent female graduate role models, who are contributing to the wider engineering community. This paper describes these events and their impact on participants. Outcomes and feedback from participants show the critical role of these types of targeted interventions in supporting women and gender minorities and address some of the most pressing global challenges relating to the abovementioned SDGs.
Looby, M., Armstrong, M., Beagon, U., Dunne, E. M., Hensman, S., Higgins, F., Kelly, P., Killane, I., Lynott, S., McMahon, O., & Pahlevanzadeh, B. (2023). Supporting Women In Engineering and Technology Through A Collaborative Practice And Support Network Using Targeted Interventions. European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI). DOI: 10.21427/Y7Q2-XQ60
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