Blog Posts

International Women in Engineering Day 2022

23 June 2022

Toray Advanced Composites is proud of the inspirational women that are instrumental to the development, testing, and production of our products. Across our offices in the US, UK and the Netherlands, the work of women has been vital in making Toray a world-leader in the development of world-class, technical composite materials that are enabling so many innovative advances in the next generation of thermoset and thermoplastic materials.

This International Women in Engineering Day, Toray would like to celebrate the work of the brilliant women in our technical services that are so integral to the success of Toray as a whole. Without their dedication, passion and knowledge, Toray Advanced Composites would not the company it is today.

What percentage of engineers are female?

While engineering may be seen as a traditional male-dominated industry, women are becoming more and more present in the sector. Figures from June 2021 from the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) indicated that 16.5% of engineers are women. While this is in an improvement compared to previous years, more needs to be done to ensure that engineering is as a viable career options for more women.

Claire Wright has worked in engineering at Toray Advanced Composites for over 5 years and currently works in our UK office as our Quality & Environmental Manager and thinks the prospects for women in the industry have improved dramatically during her time in the sector.

I very rarely came across women in technical and engineering roles when I first started in composites. Now it’s much more common place and accepted. It’s a really good feeling to be in a discussion where there are other women, leading the conversation and making decisions. From when I started 25 years ago to now, I think so many barriers have already been broken down and it’s great to have seen this change.”

Why is it important for women to be in engineering?

Increasing the amount of women in engineering is not just beneficially to the women who take the role, but also the industry as a whole. Not only does having a better gender balance create a more equal and representative workplace, there is also much research that shows more diverse workplaces have improved morale, productivity, and create more innovate solutions to problems.

Dr. Anita Mizusawa has been in the materials industry for almost 40 years. She has been with Toray Advanced Composites for over 13 years as a Senior Field Technical Specialist, directly interfacing with customers providing technical and manufacturing support from our US office in California. She believes there has been a substantial shift in attitudes since she started in the industry, and this has helped make the industry better.

“Putting your head down and not speaking up is not acceptable anymore. Deferring to someone merely because of their positional authority is a thing of the past. Innovation, communication, problem solving, teamwork with a diverse group of skillsets and experiences are needed to be successful which includes diversity in people and diverse thinking.”

How better representation can help the composites industry

As a leading name in the composites industry, Toray Advanced Composites is proud of the inspirational women in our technical teams. However, like the industry as a whole, more could be done to improve the gender balance to make Toray more equal and better prepared to face future challenges.

As the composites industry faces up to many challenges including material shortages, rising costs, and net-zero targets, it is vital that most skilled workers can find their way into the industry, regardless of gender. This means that more has to be done to help young women see engineering as a valid pathway for them.

Claire believes there needs to be improvements in education to help this, with “more interaction between schools and industry. Engineering and technical roles aren’t just about chemistry & physics. It’s much more diverse and I don’t think that’s understood which may be a deterrent.”

Toray Advanced Composites understands that being an ally to young women of engineering means taking action within the community to inspire the next generation. Today, Toray Advanced Composites remains committed to continuing and expanding support for local university projects and community outreach programs and by cultivating the next generation of engineers through mentorship on their career path.

Get involved with International Women in Engineering Day

If you would like to get involved in this campaign there are a number of events happening around the globe, both virtually and in-person. You can visit the International Women in Engineering Day 2022 (INWED22) website for a full list of events happening on the day.

If you are a women who works in engineering, you can download their selfie template and post a picture yourself at work with the hashtag #INWED22. Your post could inspire young women and girls into engineering by showing them how a career in a technical field is achievable for them.

We use cookies for social media functionalities, personalized content and analytics. By clicking 'Accept' or continuing to browse our site and clicking through, you agree to such use and the sharing of your data with our partners. To find out more about our use of cookies, our partners or how to withdraw your consent see our Cookie Policy.