MD of GE Aviation Wales to headline University event marking International Women in Engineering Day

On Wednesday, June 21, Swansea University’s College of Engineering will host a day of events in support of International Women in Engineering Day, which takes place annually on June 23.

The celebrations, occurring from 10:30am to 2:30pm, will be hosted at the Bay Campus and will include a keynote speech from La-Chun Lindsay (pictured below), Managing Director of GE Aviation Wales, based in Nantgarw near Cardiff. 

La-Chun Lindsay











GE Aviation is a world-leading provider of commercial, military and business and general aviation jet and turboprop engines and components as well as avionics, electrical power and mechanical systems for aircraft.

La‐Chun Lindsay became the Managing Director of Wales’s largest manufacturing company with US$3B revenue and 1.4K employees in April 2015, after having previously led the assembly, test, and overhaul plant at GE Aviation's Lynn site in Massachusetts, USA.

Speaking ahead of the event, Ms Lindsay said: “I am super excited to be a part of Swansea University’s International Women in Engineering Day celebrations. Even as a little girl growing up in South Carolina, I always knew that I wanted to be an engineer. I will always be proud of the Bachelors of Science degree that I received upon successfully completing Clemson University’s tough Engineering Program. I’m even prouder of the various STEM initiatives that we are driving at GE Aviation Wales, highlighting that every little girl should be given the opportunity to pursue her dreams of being an engineer just like I had.”

Other speakers include College of Engineering alumna Christina Kio, a Graduate Design Engineer based in Pencoed with Skanska, one of the UK’s leading contractors.  Dr Carol Glover, a Technology Transfer Fellow working on the SPECIFIC project in the College of Engineering, will also give her FameLab 2017 talk, for which she was awarded the overall winner of FameLab Wales and runner up of FameLab UK.  The annual FameLab competition is sponsored by the British Council and held as part of the Cheltenham Festivals, where entrants have three minutes to explain a science concept in a unique and entertaining way.

The College of Engineering will also showcase the cutting-edge work of 10 women postgraduate students and researchers.

The event’s organiser Elaine Richards, Inclusivity and Staff Development Officer in the College of Engineering, said: “To mark International Women in Engineering Day 2017, which this year has a sub-theme of #MenAsAllies, we will be celebrating our equality work taking place across the College of Engineering, focusing on the importance of a diverse workforce and listening to women's experiences of working in the traditionally male dominated engineering industry.

“We encourage both men and women to attend this event, which is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the great achievements of women in this field, and the fantastic work being done by women researchers, teaching staff and students here in the College of Engineering.”

Professor Hilary Lappin-Scott, Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor at Swansea University, said: “We are delighted to welcome such an inspirational keynote speaker as La-Chun Lindsay to lead our International Women in Engineering Day celebrations on June 21, which we hope will become the highlight each year in the College of Engineering’s rolling programme of events and activities for staff and students to improve, support, and promote gender equality.

“Last October, the College was successful in achieving a Equality Challenge Unit Bronze Athena SWAN award, which ‘recognises a solid foundation for eliminating gender bias and developing an inclusive culture that values all staff’, according to the award guidelines. The College is now working towards a Silver Athena SWAN award in 2019.

“The College of Engineering also joined the Women’s Engineering Society last October; a partnership which highlights the University avidly supports an increase in the recruitment and retention of women in engineering and technical roles.

“We will also be launching a Wikipedia-thon campaign, to take place this September, to raise the profile of women from Swansea University.”

In line with this year’s sub-theme of #MenAsAllies, Professor Steve Brown, Head of Swansea University’s College of Engineering, said: “Gender inequality in the workplace, a shortage of women in engineering industry, in engineering research, in engineering academia, and drop-offs at certain stages of the pipeline is all well-documented. It’s not a new phenomenon. Enough people know about it, enough people talk about it and highlight it. And that talk shouldn’t stop.

“What we need is for people to stop simply becoming aware and acknowledging gender inequality. We need to become aware, acknowledge and then to act.

“That is why I am immensely proud of the work being done in the College of Engineering and our commitment to gender equality and continuous work to embed these principles into the culture and day to day running of the College."

Among the many activities the College has already run and has a rolling programme of to support and promote gender equality are a Family Fun Day for staff; ‘Unconscious Bias’ workshops for staff; ‘Promotion Ready’ workshops for women, held by the Head of College; an inclusivity workshop on the University’s family friendly policies; the ‘Female Voices in Engineering’ series of events for students and staff; the establishment of Swansea Students Women in Engineering Society; the establishment of a Staff Women’s Network; and the establishment of Women in Engineering and Sport Science bursaries for Year One students.

International Women in Engineering Day, under the patronage of UNESCO, was set up in 2014 by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) to celebrate its 95th anniversary and focuses attention on the amazing careers in engineering and technical roles for girls, and allows us to celebrate the achievements of our outstanding women engineers.

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