Outstanding contributions to gender balance in science, technology and engineering were celebrated at the 2016 WISE Awards. Eight women, one man and one company received awards at the ceremony in November, which was held in the Grand Connaught Rooms in London with an audience of 500 guests.
HRH The Princess Royal, who presented the awards, said: “Technology is transforming the world of work. If we want girls to have the best possible futures in these careers, we need to make sure they have the skills and qualifications required. More importantly, if we want the best possible future for our country, we need to be using the talents of the whole population.”
Helen Wollaston, chief executive of the campaigning organisation WISE, highlighted that every year only 20,000 young women leave education with the qualifications to work in science, technology and engineering, representing only 7% of those who take GCSEs in maths and science.
She said: “The winners are living proof of the contribution women make to innovation, safety and business performance(…) They stood out for their energy and determination to make a difference, which is inspiring others to follow in their footsteps.”
The winners included pioneering women Dr Ying Cheong, Professor Clare Elwell and Yvonne Bennett working in the fields of fertility, infant brain activation to help identify autism, and neuro-linguistic programming to improve success rates of health and safety, respectively. Professor Hilary Lappin-Scott, Anne-Gaelle Colom and Amali de Alwis were all recognised for their significant impact in encouraging other women in microbial research, open source software and coding for girls.
Tom Jones was awarded the first Man of the Year award for his ambassadorial work within Amec Foster Wheeler and the engineering industry. Amy Hart won the Rising Star award. She is an apprentice at HMRC whose code contributions have helped more than 500,000 customers. Sky was named Employer of the Year after transforming its graduate programme to create a 50:50 gender split in the business, and Debbie Forster was awarded Woman of the Year for enabling 20,000 female students to design their own apps.
Full details of the WISE Award ceremony and its winners are at wisecampaign.org.uk/wise-awards/wise-awards-2016
WISE is a campaign to promote science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) to women and to enable people in business, industry and education to increase women’s participation and contribution in these sectors.