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Supporting the women in our community

Women make up around 13% of the engineering workforce.

But there are many more in our community – partners, parents, and carers to name a few. Women do most of the unpaid work in society. But we know that women’s lived experiences are still disregarded in many settings, including healthcare and work. That’s why we’re doing everything we can to help.

Health and wellbeing

Research shows us that women’s pain and health concerns are often not taken seriously. This can lead to delayed or ineffective treatment and unnecessary suffering. Our support could help you get well sooner.

  • Chronic illnesses like endometriosis, migraines and polycystic ovary syndrome affect millions of women worldwide. We know that early diagnosis often leads to better outcomes and improved quality of life. That’s why we offer wellbeing funding to help with pursuing the treatment you need.
  • Society often expects women to play a supportive role in life and be the guardian of their family’s health. This pressure can make asking for mental health support feel next to impossible. We can provide counselling and therapy funding so you can talk things through when you need to.

Work and career

The gender pay gap is only one challenge women face in the workplace. Striking the right work-life balance, facing prejudice and dealing with harassment can all be a daily reality for many women.

  • Access to professional development and career opportunities shouldn’t be biased. Our expert work life support  is there to give advice at all levels. There’s one-to-one advice sessions, access to job search tools and interview practice, as well as looking at the big picture and helping you decide the next steps.
  • Many women face harassment at work, and even more never report it for fear of consequences they may face. Sometimes harassment is part of the ‘workplace culture’ but nobody should feel unsafe at work. That’s where our legal support can help – it covers all areas of the law and is available over the phone.
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Caring for others

Women provide the majority of unpaid care in the UK, valued at around £77bn each year. Many of these women have had to give up work or reduce their hours to meet their caring responsibilities.

  • Getting a break from your responsibilities can make a huge difference to your wellbeing. Our support for carers includes funding for breaks and activities. We could also help cover the cost of someone taking over while you’re away. Our quarterly carer newsletter will keep you up to date with our support.
  • Disability has a price tag. Research has found that disabled people face an extra cost of £583 each month, with one in five having to find an extra £1000. As a result, many people have to go without things that make their lives easier. Our care and disability grants could help with equipment, care, and other expenses.

We can’t make the challenges women face go away but we can make them easier to deal with. If you or your partner is a current or former IET member, get in touch with us. We’re here to help.

linda mental health story
"We’ve been through such an ordeal as a family - it makes me feel emotional just thinking about it. I'm just very, very, very grateful for the support we got." View story Read Linda’s story of supporting her daughter’s mental health
emma autism support story
Foothold saved me from anxiety and from falling into depression. To anyone needing support I would say: make the call. You’ll receive wonderful support from fantastic, trained staff who really listen to your concerns. View story Read Emma’s story of getting autism support for her kids
louise coronavirus pandemic story
“When I received the email saying we would receive a £1000 grant, I couldn’t believe what I was reading – I cried with relief. This help means the world to us. We can get back on an even keel now. I would say to anyone who is struggling don’t hesitate to get in touch with Foothold — they were brilliant.” Louise View story Read quote by Louise
A photo of Gareth Price, Foothold Trustee and Honorary Treasurer. He is smiling looking at the camera.

A statement from our Honorary Treasurer Gareth Price on our financial situation

Our Trustee Gareth Price explains how the IET's decision to stop collecting donations for Foothold may affect our support for engineers.

A family consisting or a man, woman and boy sitting at a table. Representing an IET member renewing his IET membership, the man is working on a laptop, whilst the woman and boy are doing a crafting activity together.

IET no longer collecting donations for Foothold with membership renewals

Learn about important changes between Foothold and the IET, and find out how you can #DonateDirect to help us support engineers in need.

Opening up new opportunities for the engineering community with the launch of our Engineering Neurodiverse Futures programme

Our new support programme is designed to empower neurodiverse engineering professionals, students and apprentices to achieve their full potential.