February 11th marks International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Despite progress in ensuring opportunities for women in STEM fields, women and girls continue to be systematically underrepresented as users and leaders in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This international event calls on everyone to smash stereotypes, defy gender biases and defeat discrimination that hold women and girls back in STEM fields.
We spoke to one of our Mechanical and Electrical Engineers, Mary Soyoye about what she has been doing to promote women in STEM.
‘My role at Bouygues UK is a Mechanical and Electrical Engineer, working on the Luton Street residential project in London.
In my day to day, I manage the mechanical and electrical (M&E) services in this residential build. This includes working collaboratively with the subcontractors to build a working weekly programme, monitoring progress and quality of M&E works whilst reviewing the coordination drawings. The M&E works have just started so my week now involves going through a lot of the technical submittals to get them approved. Working on a construction site, health and safety is a huge matter which means I must also ensure my subcontractors have completed a detailed risk assessment of any activities carried out on site.
The secondary school I attended, Langley Park School for Girls, recently reached out to me asking if I could talk with the year 10s and 11s, and 6th formers about my current role. Langley Park School for Girls is an all-girls school and during my education, I personally did not see many women going into STEM industries so I was keen to try and change this for the next generation. Whilst the number of females going into STEM is increasing, it is still a comparatively low number.
I wanted to show these young women just one example of a possible career that come from studying an Engineering degree. A lot of people aren’t aware of the extent of what an engineer can do; the title ‘engineer’ is very broad and there are so many options within this title.
For this to change, it is important that those in STEM industries have relationships with schools and students to raise awareness about what is available for the future workforce. Of course, there are many resources available to educate the young on this, but the best way to really make a difference is by talking directly to students, answering their questions and building that relationship.
After speaking at my secondary school, I received a number of questions that made me appreciate how much really needs to be done to close the gender gap in STEM roles. Bouygues UK have agreed to put some students in contact with colleagues in certain job roles within the business, to have a chat about what their job involves. The secondary school will also be receiving information on the apprenticeships that Bouygues UK offers as a lot of the students were interested in this. I am hopeful that even in the near future, we will see a greater number of women and girls in STEM fields.’