Today marks the first ever International Women in Engineering Day (INWED17). The national version has been running for a number of years but, as its indomitable message of inclusion and diversity gained support from governmental, educational, corporate and individual groups across the globe, the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) decided a change of name was in order.
During the First World War, many women took up roles in engineering and other technical professions. WES is a charity formed in 1919 by a group of female engineers to help support these women in their campaign to retain their positions once the men returned home. Whilst the pioneering women of the time undoubtedly paved the way in terms of safeguarding equality for women in ‘non-traditional’ sectors, the fight is far from over.
As the statistics outlined in our International Women’s Day blog highlights, there are numerous problems facing women in the construction and engineering industries: from simple things like inadequate facilities or protective clothing, to unequal pay and lack of promotional prospects, not to mention the more concerning risks of harassment in the workplace. It is clear a change is long-overdue.
Whilst it is vital to challenge perceptions, commit to equality and provide clear support systems, it is also important to celebrate the women who have made valuable contributions to our industry.
Kingspan is incredibly proud to have many skilled and talented women in influential roles within the business. For example, our Global Marketing Director, Louise Foody, has been named as one of Ireland’s most powerful women at this year’s Women’s Executive Network (WXN) 2017 Ireland’s Most Powerful Women: Top 25 Awards.
Louise joined Kingspan’s first ever graduate recruitment programme 12 years ago and has ‘risen through the ranks’ to her current role (in which she also runs the graduate programme she began her career in!). She is now the Global Marketing Director of Kingspan Insulated Panels – the biggest division in the Kingspan Group accounting for 65% of last year’s revenue. She leads a range of worldwide strategic projects, including the company’s digital and customer experience strategies.
“Working with Kingspan has given me the opportunity to travel and live all over the world, working alongside people from all walks of life,” Louise commented. “It is absolutely vital that we work together to ensure that future generations of women can look to our industry and see one which welcomes their talents, values the opportunity to nurture their abilities and, in turn, offers them the chance to grow as individuals, regardless of their gender.”
Network Ireland Business Women of the Year Awards “celebrate the excellence, professionalism, vision and leadership” of women in a number of industries and careers.
Louise Foody, Global Marketing Director, Kingspan Insulated Panels