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Equality of Opportunity Award Finalist: Cathy Ingram (BMT)

I’m a Naval Architect working for BMT in the Defence sector.  My particular expertise is in the analysis of ship stability, although I also get involved in the assessment of hydrodynamic performance and other, broader, elements of ship design and assessment.  Much of my work is with the UK Ministry of Defence and there aren’t many UK naval surface ships and programmes I haven’t had some involvement in, either in design or providing in-service support.  I balance my technical role with team management responsibilities, and I really enjoy supporting other engineers in their career progression.

I was nominated for the Women In Defence Equality of Opportunity award for spearheading equality within our engineering teams and across the company.  This started with my proposing, establishing and growing a “Technical Womens’ Forum” in BMT.  As a business we are taking different steps to ensure that diversity initiatives are embedded across all areas, but as with the rest of our industry, our engineering teams at BMT can be very male dominated and we don’t have many senior female engineers to act as role models.  I realised I had a responsibility both to the women I work with and the company as a whole to help tackle some of the challenges this results in.  What initially started as a primarily social & support gathering for a small part of the company rapidly outgrew that both because of a drive within the group to improve our industry and the recognition from our management that we can be doing better.  Working together we are a strong voice for equality, diversity and inclusion within the company.  While we continue to offer an informal support network (which has been invaluable in generating professional links across the company), our focus is now on delivering tangible outputs, be it in:

- Changing, developing and implementing policies, for example reviewing interview processes to ensure potential candidates recognise we are a diverse and welcoming organisation;

- Procuring appropriate PPE for different body shapes;

- Supporting the development of marketing material to ensure gender-independent appeal;

- Increasing awareness of the benefits of a diverse business, so that ED&I becomes embedded in our business or;

- Providing personal development training & opportunities.

We have also demonstrated & embraced our broader role in supporting equality, diversity & belonging across the company with several members spearheading corporate campaigns to improve diversity beyond gender issues. 

I was really surprised to be named a finalist for this award.  It is a pleasure to work with a group of passionate women and dedicated allies who all want to make our company and our industry a better place.  One of the things I am proudest of is that the Technical Womens’ Forum is a group that is lead by its members rather than any given individual, and all the members deserve credit for what has been achieved.

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