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WISE and the UKRC unite for gender equality

2 February 2011

The UKRC today announced that it will take on leadership of WISE (Women into Science, Engineering and Construction) from April 2011. This unites the highly-regarded and long-standing WISE Campaign with the UKRC, the UK’s lead organisation promoting gender equality in science, engineering and technology (SET).

Uniting WISE with the UKRC means that for the first time an integrated all-age service will be on offer to a wide range of clients and stakeholders. The UKRC will preserve the WISE identity and use it for pre-19 initiatives, thereby preserving its heritage and brand value.

WISE has worked with industry and education to inspire girls and to attract them into studies and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The UKRC supports adult women, businesses and organisations to advance gender equality in science, engineering and technology.

“This is a very significant and welcome move,” said Annette Williams, Director of the UKRC. “The UKRC will lead WISE under a merged remit. This is a logical alignment of two initiatives at the centre of the UK’s work towards gender equality in SET. It strengthens our role and broadens our remit to ensure a comprehensive and unified offer for employers, educators, advisors and organisations spanning both education and employment across all ages and career stages. The UKRC is pleased to expand its work, which has previously focused on adults, to include action for girls and young women under 19.”

Philip Greenish, Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Engineering and member of the WISE Board said “this is a very important change as we look to transform the opportunities for young women in high quality STEM based careers.  WISE has achieved much in its 26 years of existence but we still have a very long way to go if we are to change the attitudes and influences that are holding us back. The Royal Academy of Engineering is re-doubling its efforts to improve diversity in the engineering profession and looks forward to working with UKRC in its new form.

Paul Jackson, Chief Executive of Engineering UK and member of the WISE Board said: “Diversity is a top priority for us at EngineeringUK and we look forward to working with the UKRC in its new role to achieve our common goals. The unification of WISE with the UKRC is a welcome one, giving a focus to the promotion of gender equality in science, engineering and technology across all age groups. Research shows that the UK has the lowest number of female engineers in Europe and a focus on redressing this balance can only be good for the future economic and social wellbeing of the country.”

“We welcome this exciting development,” said Trudy Norris Grey, Vice President BT Global Indirect Channels, and Chair of the UKRC Governing Body. “Women make up only 12.3 per cent of all people working in SET occupations, and UK research, industry and enterprise are missing out as a result. This positive step enables us to offer and promote effective solutions for organisations across the education and employment pipeline. It contributes to the development of a focused strategy to support the embedding of equality in SET sectors.”

Annette Williams concluded: “This move to lead WISE receives high level endorsement and makes it all the more important that we work with all business and education leaders and sector stakeholders, including Government, to ensure gender equality remains a priority across SET industry, enterprise and education. Bringing WISE and the UKRC together enjoys the support of key sector leaders, and opens the potential for new ventures and collaboration.”

The UKRC will take on the leadership of WISE from April 2011. In the interim period WISE remains located within Engineering UK.

For further information, please contact:

UK Resource Centre for Women (UKRC)
Listerhills Park of Science and Commerce
40-42 Campus Road

Tel: 01274 436485
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