HRH The Princess Royal honours trail-blazing women and men in science, technology and engineering
Eight women, one company and one man were recognised tonight for their outstanding contributions to gender balance in science, technology and engineering at a glittering ceremony in the Grand Connaught Rooms, London with HRH The Princess Royal and 500 guests.
Presenting the Awards, HRH The Princess Royal, said: “Technology is transforming the world of work. If we want girls to have the best possible futures in these careers, we need to make sure they have the skills and qualifications required. More importantly, if we want the best possible future for our country, we need to be using the talents of the whole population.”
Helen Wollaston, chief executive of the campaigning organisation WISE, said: “Every year only 20,000 young women leave education with the qualifications to work in science, technology and engineering. That’s only 7% of those who take GCSE maths and science. I see that as a huge opportunity. Our winners show these girls the joy and rewards of science, technology and maths.”
“The winners are living proof of the contribution women make to innovation, safety and business performance.”
WISE chair and Microsoft managing director Trudy Norris-Grey was guest speaker at the event and issued a rallying cry to the dinner guests: “We are in the midst of the fourth revolution but girls are being left behind because too many drop maths and science at 16 – we must reverse this trend. Men are taking up these new jobs at a much greater rate than women. Don’t stand on the sidelines, join us so that we can move forward at scale and at pace and not let girls and women be left behind.”
The winners included pioneering women Dr Ying Cheong, Professor Clare Elwell and Yvonne Bennett working in the fields of fertility, infant brain activation to help identify autism and neuro-linguistic programming to improve success rates of health and safety. Professor Hilary Lappin-Scott, Anne-Gaelle Colom and Amali de Alwis were all recognised for the significant impact in encouraging other women in their organisations and wider – in microbial research, open source software and coding for girls.
Tom Jones was awarded the first ‘Man of the Year’ award for his ambassadorial work within Amec Foster Wheeler and the engineering industry. Amy Hart won the Rising Star award – an apprentice at HMRC her code contributions have helped more than 500,000 customers. Sky was named Employer of the Year after transforming its graduate programme to create a 50:50 gender split in the business. And Debbie Forster was awarded ‘Woman of the Year’ for enabling 20,000 female students to design their own apps.
Helen Wollaston added: “These successes had three critical ingredients. Leaders of these organisations recognise that getting more women into these careers is about good business, not some ‘nice to have’. Clear goals have been set and measured. They stood out for their energy and determination to make a difference, which is inspiring others to follow in their footsteps.”