Founder of EqualEngineers Dr Mark McBride-Wright is an engineer on a mission. A mission to make the UK’s engineering and technology sectors more diverse and inclusive. Traditionally they are known as sectors that fall short on the diversity and inclusion of under-represented groups.
We recently spoke to Mark, to get his thoughts on how his sector can become more inclusive. EqualEngineers recently implemented Recite Me onto its website with the aim of delivering a “one-stop option for ensuring our website is accessible to as many people as possible, a web accessibility solution that would quickly and efficiently integrate with the platform our website is built on,” says Mark.
The Recite Me toolbar enables visitors to interact with the websites in a deeper way in conjunction with their accessibility requirements. Mark’s primary motive was to ensure that their website is open to as many people as possible to find out about the work that EqualEngineers do and the events they run.
He continued, “We need to increase digital accessibility to as many people as possible, and Recite Me provides a way to achieve this. Now, when engineers and professionals in the sector visit EqualEngineers’ website, they can choose whether to enable the accessibility options on the website.”
Making the website more accessible is just one part of a wider programme of ground-breaking initiatives that the organisation is running. Most recently, Mark spearheaded the first-ever ‘Masculinity in Engineering Report’, which was launched on World Mental Health Day.
The report found that only 31% of engineers feel included in the environment they work in. Improving digital accessibility (including using assistive technology like Recite Me) helps make engineering more diverse and inclusive. Mark says, “Engineering is a traditionally male, white-dominated sector. It can be very lonely if you feel even a little bit ‘different’ to the supposed ‘norm’.”
“Not being able to be open about who you are, because of attitudes and lack of diversity around you can lead to mental health issues and decreased wellbeing. We need to create a culture where men can be vulnerable and can understand their own diversity story. We do not have this in our male-majority industry, and we need to work to bring down the psychological barriers preventing it.”
The report makes recommendations for the sector, including increased parity between the importance of physical safety and good mental health, modeling flexible working at senior level and highlighting the ‘toxic’ in toxic masculinity.
“Men must be emboldened to be able to proudly define their own masculinity, and be reconciled with the idea that masculinity in itself is not negative at all, but that it is specific traits and behaviours, associated with a toxic, hyper-competitive, macho culture that must disappear to make way for healthy, diverse and inclusive work environments for all, “ concluded Mark.
As well as highlighting what needs to change, a big part of encouraging change in the sector is rewarding existing and emerging best practices. That’s why EqualEngineers have just launched a brand new awards programme.
The Engineering Talent Awards will celebrate the diversity of the engineering and technology profession. Nominations are open now and the winners will be announced at a gala awards dinner on 23 April 2020 in London. Good luck to anyone that enters!
To find out more about EqualEngineers, visit https://www.equalengineers.com
To learn more about Recite Me, including how to book your free demo, visit www.reciteme.com