International Women in Engineering Day

International Women in Engineering Day is on the 23rd June every year, and celebrates the amazing work that women engineers across the world are doing. The day gives women engineers around the world a profile when they are still hugely under-represented, with 2021 figures indicating that in the UK only 16.5% of engineers are women. The day plays a vital role in encouraging more young women and girls to pursue careers in engineering.

This year we would like to join in the celebration by speaking to two of our newest AgriFoRwArdS CDT Students, who both joined us to begin their MSc study in October last year. This October they will both be progressing to their PhD research stage in robotics and engineering within the Agri-Food sector.

We hope that by highlighting these two fantastic women, who are successfully achieving their goals within a STEM subject, we will encourage diversity within the next generation of scientists.

Violet Mayne

We asked Violet how she became interested in science, and what she loves about the subject.

“I became interested in scientific research during what I thought would be my last year of university. I wanted to push up my final grade and was shocked by how much I could do when I really applied myself, from there I started to properly challenge myself and an interest in the cutting edge of current research followed.

One thing I like about science is how it is stimulating both in the excitement of being part of a constantly evolving field which pushes our knowledge ever onwards and in the satisfaction of seeing one’s own projects through to fruition using that greater pool of knowledge. It makes the field feel very rewarding.”

Amanda Xu

Amanda told us all about her journey into science, what excites her about the subject, and shared with us her experiences of a fantastic Women in Science event.

“I am a Cohort 5 student in AgriFoRwArdS CDT. From a young age, I’ve always been captivated
by the way things work; it’s a fascination that naturally evolved into a passion for
engineering. Joining the CDT was a step driven by my desire to be at the forefront
of scientific innovation and to contribute to fields that challenge and excite me every day—
particularly in robotics.

What excites me most about STEM is the endless possibilities for discovery and innovation.
In robotics, the thrill of seeing a concept move from theory to application is unparalleled. It’s
about creating solutions that could one day transform lives, whether it’s through advanced
prosthetics, automated farming technologies, or intelligent automation systems. The potential
to improve efficiency, safety, and quality of life offers a deep well of motivation.

Last month, I attended the Women in Science Awards hosted by UNESCO, where I was
profoundly inspired by the honourees. To girls considering a career in STEM, I echo the
sentiment shared at the ceremony: be brave and be yourself. The field requires a constant
thirst for knowledge and an openness to continual learning. Embrace challenges as
opportunities to grow and don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. This is where
true innovation lies.

As we celebrate International Women in Engineering Day, I am reminded of the importance
of diversity in STEM. The unique perspectives and ideas brought forth by women are crucial
for the innovative leaps we aim for in science and technology. Seeing more women in STEM
not only serves as a beacon of inspiration but also enriches the field with broader insights and

Thank you to both Violet and Amanda for sharing their experiences of studying a STEM subject. We hope that sharing their stories will inspire other women to engage with the sciences.