International Women in Engineering Day: Scarborough woman encourages girls to pursue science and maths to improve representation

A Scarborough woman is encouraging more women to get involved with engineering on International Women in Engineering Day (IWED).

Samantha Magowan says that she "was the only girl in any college class that I’ve been in for engineering."
Samantha Magowan says that she "was the only girl in any college class that I’ve been in for engineering."

Thursday June 23 is the ninth IWED ran by the Women’s Engineering Society.

Samantha Magowan, from Scarborough, works at Dale Power Solutions as an Applications Engineer.

When Samantha began her apprenticeship nearly six years ago, she noticed that there weren’t many women in her classes, or even in the industry.

Samantha said: “I was the only girl in any college class that I’ve been in for engineering.

“Even at sixth form, I was the only girl in my physics class. I was the only girl doing maths.”

Back then, the engineering industry was made up of 9% women and today, that number is 16.5%, according to Engineering UK. Even now, there are only three female engineers where Samantha works.

Only 24% of people working in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) related jobs are women.

Samantha’s sister Hannah is also an engineer, and works in Product Development at Dale Power Solutions.

Samantha is keen for women to get involved in engineering, but she also wants to change people’s mindsets about engineering, and says that “most people think I wire people’s houses, or I’m a car mechanic.

“I think women should do what they want. But I think there’s a lot of misconceptions about what it’s like to be an engineer”.

Engineering is actually a range of roles, rather than a specific job.

It can range from hands-on work of installing and making things, to the mathematical side of how things are made and coming up with solutions.

“There’s so many different types, you can be doing the dirty work, which most people think of in a factory, or installing equipment and stuff on site or working with oiling machines and things.

“But then there’s also design elements where they’re really therapeutic and quite creative, where you’re getting or designing 3D models of products that people can use.

“If you think about anything in the world, it has to be engineered. I know engineers who work making or designing products for Dyson. There’s lots of different areas to go into. There’s electrical and mechanical, but there’s also materials engineers.

“I met a girl who works creating materials for Rolls Royce, and then some of her materials that she’s designed to be used in Formula One cars.

“There’s creating different types of materials which are stronger or more aerodynamic, or more environmentally friendly, and there’s loads and loads of different routes of civil engineers who do things like bridges and buildings and stuff like that.”

Samantha began her career in engineering by carrying out an apprenticeship after deciding that Univeristy wasn’t for her.

At A Level, she studied Maths, Further Maths, Geography and Physics.