The Royal Academy of Engineering, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) organisation InterEngineering and Mott MacDonald are launching a new series of online videos profiling LGBT engineers as part of LGBT History Month.
LGBT History Month is celebrated in February in the UK and aims to increase the visibility of LGBT people and their experiences, and to raise awareness of matters affecting the LGBT community.
As part of the month, the ‘What’s it like?’ video series is designed to inspire prospective engineers who are LGBT, as well as existing engineers who may wish to come out or transition at work. It features 20 LGBT role models working in a wide variety of engineering settings, from design studios to the British Army, including Dr Mark McBride-Wright, chair and co-founder of InterEngineering and a gay man; Kimberly Bartlett, a lighting engineer and a married lesbian woman; Amanda McKay, a nuclear quality director and a bisexual trans woman; Paul Robins, chairman of the Railway Assurance Board at Crossrail and a gay man; Gyandeep Saikia, a senior systems engineer and a gay man.
The video profiles can be viewed here.
Data on sexual and gender identity is not currently captured in the UK Census, although an accepted estimate is that 6% of the UK population is LGB. Further data shows that about 1% of the UK population are gender non-conforming and that their unemployment rate is three times higher than the national average. Comprehensive data is not available on the proportion of engineers who are LGBT, although a survey conducted in September 2014 by the Institution of Chemical Engineers and the South East diversity and inclusion (D&I) working group with a sample group of 279 engineers found 6% state that they are LGB, reflecting the make up of the UK population.
Dr Hayaatun Sillem, deputy chief executive and D&I champion at the Royal Academy of Engineering, said: “Experience of leading our programme to increase diversity and inclusion across engineering tells us that role models have a pivotal role to play in encouraging people to join and stay in the profession. It is really good to see LGBT engineers making themselves visible, and working with us to increase and extend diversity and inclusion across the sector.”
Mike Haigh, managing director at Mott MacDonald, said: “Each person profiled in the videos is making a valuable contribution to their field, and demonstrates that you can be LGBT+ and have a happy and successful career in engineering. Raising the profile of LGBT+ employees is crucial in order to further show that if you have a passion for engineering, you should absolutely consider a career in the profession.”
Dr Mark McBride-Wright, chair and co-founder of InterEngineering, added: “As a profession, we are at the beginning of a journey creating an inclusive industry for everyone and I hope these videos will play a part in attracting LGBT+ students to the engineering industry."