Kim Mears, OBE.
Engineer, Kerry Cunningham in this year's International Women's Day #EachforEqual pose #IWD2020
We caught up with Kim to hear her perspective on diversity in the workplace;
Why is International Women’s Day on Sunday 8 March still relevant in 2020?
“Put simply, when it comes to gender equality - we’re not there yet. There is still a way to go to achieve gender equality in boardrooms, government, media coverage, sports coverage and to achieve gender equal pay. A gender equal world is better for us all, and we must all lend our support to make it happen.”
Why did the Women in Engineering Society (WES) launch an International Women in Engineering day?
“The WES website explains; they are a charity that started in 1919 at the end of the First World War. At that time there was a change of law to ensure that the country reverted to a pre-war state whereby women were unable to continue in their engineering jobs. The pioneering women of that time set up the Women’s Engineering Society which has been working ever since to ensure equality for women in this sector.
According to the Gender Disparity in Engineering report from EngineeringUK, just 12% of those working in engineering are women, compared with 47% of the overall UK workforce. The report says this gender imbalance has clear implications not just for the immediate workforce, but also the extent to which girls are likely to be attracted to the profession in the future. Additionally, according to a Microsoft study on ‘Why Europe’s girls aren’t studying *STEM’, a lack of visible role models and a perception that men and women are treated differently in STEM careers is holding girls back.”
*STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths
What about recruitment at Openreach?
“We want to attract many more women to apply for engineering roles at Openreach. We would love for more women to think of a career in engineering and feel inspired about the positive change they can create in their communities with a career at Openreach.”
Why is diversity in the workplace important to you?
“More diverse organisations where people feel able to be themselves consistently perform better. I believe working in the engineering sector is a great career choice but unfortunately due to stereotypes, misconceptions, or the fact it is still a predominantly male workplace, some may not see themselves in this industry.
I’m one of only 5% of women in STEM leadership roles and I was immensely honoured to receive an OBE for services to the UK Communications Industry in the New Year’s Honours list. I want to use my experience to show women and girls that a career in STEM can be a great choice for them.
There are very few opportunities in your career to really make a difference, I believe that what we have achieved in delivering great fibre connectivity will have a truly positive impact on people’s lives, for decades to come.”
Kim Mears, OBE
MD Strategic Infrastructure Development