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Women in Engineering

WIDE Conference


WIDE: Women in Innovation, Design and Engineering

We are surrounded in all aspects of our lives by products and services that have been designed, tested and manufactured by engineers and designers. As an engineer or designer, you can shape the material world in which we live and look after it by making our products, buildings and services fairer and more sustainable. Engineering and design are highly social and collective activities. There are many different roles in engineering from designing and making products, to carrying out mathematical and technical analyses and working with customers. Currently in the UK, men are still the majority of engineers, but the situation is steadily changing, and engineering companies offer stable and flexible careers to women.

Our Open University students come to engineering with an enormous range of backgrounds and experiences. In particular our female students have many transferable skills that industry is looking for. It is already well recognised that the success of engineering and management teams correlates positively with their diversity. An engineering degree gives women a lucrative and versatile career where you can work to your strengths and be valued for who you are. Our qualifications provide the fundamental design and engineering skills and enable you to discover your passions and interests, which you can follow in specialised courses at stages 2 and 3 and through postgraduate qualifications.

The School of Engineering and Innovation espouses the Open University’s mission of being ‘open to people, places, methods and ideas’ and its values of inclusivity, innovation and responsiveness. The Open University has huge experience in enabling our students to start their undergraduate or postgraduate educational journey appropriately to where they are and mould it to their changing needs.

The School is proud to hold an Athena SWAN Silver award, which shows our commitment to advancing the careers of women, both among our students and staff in accordance with the Athena SWAN Charter.

Events for Women in Innovation, Design and Engineering in the OU

We run regular events for our female students in engineering and design. Everybody is welcome at them.

WIDE Student Conference

The school of Engineering and Innovation runs an annual conference on Women in Innovation, Design and Engineering (Wide), where we have talks, workshops and activities to give our students a better sense of what it is like to be a professional engineer. The conference takes place on-line and in person in alternate years. In odd years, the conference takes place in Milton Keynes or in the nations. In even years, the conference takes place online. This should give our students to change to come to at least on physical conference during their degree to form relationships with their follow students and meet academic staff.

If you are interested in organising or publishing events or want to join the team organising the annual conference, please contact

Experiences of Women in Innovation, Design and Engineering

Here are some of our female students, staff, alumni and friends talking about their experiences as students, practitioners, researchers or educators.

Women in Engineering Forum

The Women in Engineering Forum is a place where you can discuss issues, share experiences, and hear about initiatives which are particularly relevant to female engineering and design students. The forum is open to all engineering and design students.

Links to organisations, resources, and events in the OU and beyond

Women’s Engineering Society: WES

WES OUSS : Open University WES affiliated student group


For students:

Seven myths of being a female engineer

Engineering your dream career

PhD opportunities at The Open University

For staff:

Support schemes

Links to Women in Engineering Institutions

Several of the institutions accrediting our degrees also have special interest groups targeted at women




Engineering Council

IET – gender diversity

IET – the woman engineer journal