From the media to company websites, we often hear about diversity and inclusivity in STEM. But we rarely stop and consider why greater diversity should even be a goal. Last November, we asked you – GIE club members – your thoughts on why diversity in STEM is important and the benefits that it can yield. We were overwhelmed by the number of submissions we received, so thank you to everyone who took the time to think about this crucial question and submit a response. We’ve compiled all of your responses and made a GIE word cloud... check it out!
As many club members pointed out, diversity is crucial for improving the quality, creativity and innovativeness of designs and solutions. Engineering design is an iterative and collaborative process, often involving experts from a range of disciplines. Allowing more people a seat at the table (both metaphorically and figuratively) ensures that workplaces are generating a more diverse and unique ideas. In our rapidly changing world, this can only be a good thing!
Diversity also plays a role at the other end of the design spectrum: problem identification. At the core of every engineering solution is a problem which needs to be solved, whether that’s a body of water that needs to be crosses, a building which needs to be erected or a product which needs to be produced. Identifying and defining the problem is the first step in engineering design. A more diverse engineering workforce allows companies to consider problems in a more holistic manner. After all, how can you identify a problem if something has never affected you?
An example of this can be seen in the streetlighting all around us. As I’m sure many of you know, cities can be intimidating places at night, and the poor streetlights certainly don’t help. There is a huge push at the moment to create more inclusive and safe public spaces for women using new technologies. If more women had been civil engineers when the initial streetlight system was designed, I bet that our cities would be better lit for all genders, as the companies pioneering the solutions would have grasped the gender nuances of this problem.
As you can see, diversity in STEM is a necessity to ensure that we are creating the best solutions for the most people. While engineering is undoubtedly become more diverse, there is still a lot of work to do! That said, many companies realise the huge benefits of a more diverse workforce so are making diversity a focus. This is wonderful to see and another great reason to consider a career in engineering. That’s my rant over... why not check out some awesome responses from club members for a real motivation boost!
Member responses to the question ‘Why is diversity in STEM important’?