TOO FEW WOMEN ENGINEERS AND TOO FEW WOMEN WILLING TO TALK ABOUT IT.
At a recent West End event run by Primedia Solutions, the reluctance of successful City women to promote themselves in the media was discussed. Addressed by Sue O’Brian, CEO of the search firm Norman Broadbent, Angel Investor Dale Murray, and Channel 4 journalist Siobhan Kennedy , eighty top flight women were challenged to speak up, put their nerves behind them and start redressing the 1 in 14 imbalance of women to men seen as interviewees in main channel news programmes.
But a similar picture is now emerging in the world of engineering, reported in the Observer (16/2/14), with Business Secretary, Vince Cable, citing the national shortage of engineers to be ‘a serious threat to the economy,’ and ‘the extreme under-representation of women’ exacerbating the problem. The Engineering Employers organisation EEF makes the same point.
Primedia Solutions notes that only 8% of British engineers are women, about the same percentage as the number of women interviewees seen on out televisions, and materially lower than our European neighbours.
‘Its not that the UK is full of shrinking violets,’ say Primedia, ‘but women do appear to be more concerned about their appearance than the messages they want to deliver when compared to their male counterparts. When we are preparing women clients for television interviews, we do find ourselves having to build self esteem confidence as much as coaching in interview techniques.’
Matching the Government’s ‘Grants for Women’ initiative, Primedia, who pride themselves on maintaining strict confidence with their clients, are whispering to any women willing to take up the challenge of media preparation that they will half their fees……….as long as they keep the offer to themselves!