Date of release: Monday, June 29, 2015

Christine Gausden and Deborah SimsTwo Greenwich lecturers have been chosen for top positions in their male-dominated industries' professional organisations – and both used National Women in Engineering Day to encourage other women to follow in their footsteps.

Christine Gausden RD and Fellow of the CIOB (Chartered Institute of Building) has been elected as a CIOB Trustee. Meanwhile, Deborah Sims has been appointed as a Council Member of CIHT (Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation).

Christine, of the university's Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities, says: "There is a lot of work to be done to encourage more women to seek careers in construction. As a CIOB Trustee, I will be doing all I can to further this cause.

"When I left school the only careers people thought acceptable for girls were teaching, secretarial work, serving in a shop or bank or getting married. I really had to go against the grain to follow my dream of working in architecture and construction.

"I have had a superb career managing large-scale building projects around the world. Yet, attitudes to women seeking careers in building have shifted little in the past 20 years. It is still seen as an unusual ambition and the profession continues to be dominated by men."

Christine celebrated National Women in Engineering Day with A Celebration of Success – Women in Construction event at the university attended by members of the London branch of CIOB.

Deborah Sims also marked National Women in Engineering Day at the Faculty of Engineering & Science at the Medway Campus with a special event on Tuesday 23 June.

Students from the university and from schools across the county attended talks by leading Kent and Medway engineers including Carol Valentine, Highways Manager at Kent County Council, and Sue Threader, Bridge Clerk to the Rochester Bridge Trust. The afternoon ended with a team bridge-building challenge.

Deborah says: "Across the broader engineering profession only 16 per cent of people in the industry are women. In the trades, such as bricklayers, plasterers and electricians, that falls away to one per cent.

"There is no reason at all why more women should not be entering these fields.
As a CIHT council member I shall be working hard to promote engineering and its associated trades as good, and potentially very lucrative, career options for all under-represented groups in the profession.

"We need a wider understanding among young people, their schools, their teachers, their parents and their careers advisers about just how many different jobs are available to engineers. We have a national skills shortage in engineering. There are golden opportunities for our young people."

Find out more about studying engineering or construction at the University of Greenwich via the Faculty web pages or be calling 020 8331 9000.

Story by Public Relations

Picture: Christine Gausden (left) and Deborah Sims.