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Influencing the next generation of women within the energy sector - a Q&A with Laura Wood

Q: WHAT DO YOU THINK THE SOLUTION MIGHT BE TO ADDRESS THIS?

A: I don’t think there is one simple solution. What I know, from my own personal experience, is that motivation tends to come from working on things we care about and working with people we care about. Companies and the industry must try to create an environment where everybody, regardless of gender, feel valued and supported, as this could act as a catalyst for change.

Q: WHY IS DIVERSITY SO IMPORTANT IN THE ENGINEERING SECTOR?

A: The Fourth Industrial Revolution is changing the way we receive information, how we process it, how we work and what jobs we will do. It is happening so quickly that we simply cannot afford to have any less than our whole population engaged. I believe that it is in our own best interest to have a sector that truly represents and reflects society. Diversity is going to be key to the future of engineering and innovation because it encourages different perspectives and increases the generation of ideas. Research has already demonstrated that companies are 15% more likely to perform better if they have a diverse workforce.

Q: WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED ABOUT DIVERSITY SINCE WORKING IN THE ENERGY INDUSTRY? 

A: Working in the industry has certainly made me aware of the gender imbalance, which is one of the reasons I am so passionate about influencing change and encouraging the next generation of women within STEM. I feel it is the responsibility of every employee in the industry to help create the best, most inclusive and balanced environment possible so aspiring female engineers can reach their full potential. I feel it is important to create a strong sense of community across all sections of life so we can help break the occupational gender myth.

Q: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE ASPIRING FEMALE PROFESSIONALS IN THE ENERGY INDUSTRY?

A: I would advise any young woman starting in her career to believe in themselves, so they achieve their full potential. Also, instead of adapting to the energy in a room, try to influence it. My advice to anybody, regardless of gender, is to work hard to build their career, persevere, cultivate a strong network of professional relationships and trust in their own judgement.

If you enjoyed this blog you may also be interested in this article from Claxton, an Acteon company, which takes a look at S.T.E.M with, Ann Vicens, a respected engineer with a long and diverse career history in the industry.

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