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Bradford College

The success of student, Iqra Sadiq, highlights the importance of women in STEM to Bradford College

With Saturday 11th February 2023 marking International Day of Women and Girls in Science (STEM), we sat down with Bradford College student Iqra Sadiq, studying HNC Electrical and Electronic Engineering. We find out why she decided to challenge stereotypes and fill the gender gap within Engineering.

Women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) highlights women’s achievements in a highly dominated male discipline and reiterates how much work is still to be done to fill the significant gender gap.

According to, UCAS application data shows that more and more women each year are applying for undergraduate courses in STEM subjects. Engineering applications rose by a substantial rate, by 70% to 31,910 in 2021.

Iqra started at Bradford College in September 2020 to study Level 3 Engineering and wishes to work in a giant Technology company such as Apple and Amazon.

When did you realise you were first interested in Engineering?

Subconsciously, I’ve always been interested in it. I have an older brother who did the same thing I am doing and he’s gone into electronic engineering. He would always tell me about all these things he would do at work and I would be so fascinated and interested in what he would tell me. It didn’t even click with me that that’s what I found interesting. But my sister, she actually realised and she was like, “hey, I think you would like it. You should try it out,” and she pushed me to try it, so I did and then realised that I loved it so much.

What did your family think about you choosing engineering as a career option?

They were really supportive. They like that I’m doing something so different and so out of the norm. My family likes to do different things, we don’t stick to the same thing. One of my sisters has gone into Sciences, my other sister is a designer and I have my brother who does the same thing as me but that’s different because he’s a boy. We like doing our own thing. Of course, I have my mum saying, “oh, you should have been a nurse.” But other than that, they love that I’m doing something so different.

Why do you think it’s important to have more females within Engineering?

I think it’s important to bring diversity to the field. When it comes to engineering, it’s a really daunting thing for women to go into, but I think we have a set of skills that we can bring that many men might not have, like multitasking, we can do it better than men. We have smaller fingers and so we can get in little places and I think that’s really helpful for this course.

Who is a woman in STEM that inspires and why?

Her name is Dr Manijeh Razeghi, she is a really accomplished woman. She created technology like a laser that can detect explosives and pathogens which is amazing. She’s even made a device that could lead to turbo-powered, high-speed Wi-Fi and she’s been nominated for so many prizes. She’s really accomplished, and I think it would be great to follow in her footsteps.

What would you like to see happening in the sector to encourage women and girls to get into this field?

I think that if the industry as a whole was more welcoming towards women and provided them with more opportunities, we would feel more comfortable. We’ve got a lot of talent and a lot of things to bring to the table. I would like to see more engineering companies provide the same level as support that the College has given me in my course.

What advice would you give to other girls and women who are interested in studying Engineering?

I think they should go for it. I enjoy this course so much and why not just do something you enjoy? You don’t need to do something that you ‘kind of enjoy’. This course is so much fun and I love hands-on work so it’s great and I would tell them that they should do it.

Why did you choose to study HNC Electrical Engineering at Bradford College?

Well, I studied here for the past two years. I did a broader course on engineering and that helped me pinpoint which branch I enjoyed the most, which was robotics and electronics. I went on to the HNC hoping to get more information about my specialist area before I went onto Uni, and it was a great decision.

I chose a HNC because I wanted a stepping stone without jumping from the College straight to Uni. I wanted a middle ground and I think the HNC was really great in providing that – it’s like a foundation year of Uni, so it’s preparing me.

How are you finding your experience at Bradford College?

I really like it. It is really fun. I like the College, I like the tutors, their teaching methods really helped me be engaged in lessons and it helps a lot that I love what I’m learning.

We spoke to Bradford College’s Head of Department of Construction and Engineering, Stephen Smith, who told us about his dedication in encouraging women in STEM and how they are continuously working to encourage women into the sector.

“We are now seeing a real change in the effort from schools and colleges, like ourselves, who are encouraging women into Engineering. We already have some fantastic role models working in our team training the engineers of tomorrow. Research shows that the number of women in engineering roles is growing and women now make up 16% of all engineers, a 25% increase since 2016.

We recognise there is still much more work to be done on this front and we will continue to support schools delivering STEM projects and look forward to celebrating International Women’s Day on Wednesday 8th March.

Bradford College