Blog written jointly by Charlotte Herbert, Boeing and Meg Naylor, BAE Systems, both members of the ADS New Professionals Forum. 

Wednesday 8 March is International Women’s Day (IWD) celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This year’s theme is #EmbraceEquity to get the world talking about why equal opportunities aren’t enough!  I caught up with NFP ADS President Megan Naylor about the importance of this year’s theme and her experience of being a woman in STEM.

What does embracing equity mean to you?

I think the heart of our human experience is that we are all from different backgrounds, and have had different opportunities in life. So, to me, equity, unlike equality, means that opportunities are presented to people based on the end goal of an equal outcome. It’s about allocating resources based on who has the furthest way to come to get to that equal outcome. For me, embracing equity means having those sometimes difficult conversations around what is ‘fair’ and what is right, but having them in a constructive way with empathy and awareness.

What unique skills do you feel you bring to your field?

I am a super creative person, so I always knew that I wanted to do an engineering role that would embrace aspects of that. I didn’t want my role to be deeply technically specialist, I always saw myself more as a generalist who could offer insight in a variety of areas. I am very person-orientated, and work best in very dynamic, challenging environments, so I have developed communication skills that I feel really enable me to bring people together and find solutions to challenges. For me, being an engineer is all about problem solving and communication, which I think are the skills that I bring!

Have you had any stand-out experiences as a woman in STEM?

I am the Industry liaison representative on the Women in Defence board at my working site, RAF Marham. Last year I hosted a ‘Women Across Defence’ morning, bringing together allies from industry and military to discuss common experiences, challenges and opportunities. Sitting in a room filled with such incredible role models, all being so open about their journeys in Defence, I felt so proud to have created this platform. The core of being a woman in STEM, for me, is connecting with other people and building each-other up, so this space felt really special.

Find out more about the ADS New Professionals Forum, including how to join, click here.