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Women in Industry

Bridging the gender gap

As the country marks the centenary of the law which paved the way for the universal vote for women, it could be presumed the old biases against females in the workplace are all behind us. But there's still work to be done.

Claire Gallery-Strong, head of business improvement at Sellafield Ltd, is one of those working to change attitudes to and among women in the workplace.

Chair of Women in Nuclear Cumbria, which launched earlier this year, she says there are four areas that needed to be addressed to encourage more females into a career in engineering and industry in general.

“The entire Cumbrian workforce, not just nuclear, is split 50/50 between men and women roughly, but there is a higher percentage of women in lower paid or part-time roles,” she says.

She says there is a need for more inspiring female role models, nurturing personal skills like confidence and assertiveness among women, and work to provide career mentoring for women and the capability to build professional networks.

“When you look around the conference or meeting room, sometimes you wonder ‘where are the women?’,” she says.

“We need to look at the skills where women need support to improve in what’s a very male-dominated field. I’m not talking about technical skills, but things like confidence, and not being afraid to ask or give things a shot.

“Having an inspirational role model is one thing, but you also need someone who will invest some time with you and who you feel comfortable with.

“We need male mentors too as women and men won’t be successful in isolation, I wouldn’t be where I am without having male support.”

Eleanor And Georgina Billson

Industry in the blood

“I am so grateful for getting the input from really, really good teachers - all of them female really - and Sellafield with their STEM work, which really changed my perception of what engineering was.” says Georgina.

Read their Eleanor and Georgina's story

Debbie Francis, managing director, Direct Rail Services

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Inspiring the next generation

A quick scan of Google using the search term ‘women in industry UK’ reveals a repetitive set of themes – gender pay gaps, need for female role models, greater awareness of STEM subjects and better representation of women.

Where are our female role models and how can we create more to inspire the current and next generation of women?

Career management group, Inspira, offer help and advice to women in industry in Cumbria.

Read Inspira's advice
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Women in Industry

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