In 2017, my company was moving into its new prestige headquarters in London and there was a competition to name the new client-facing meeting rooms. I thought women had been poorly represented in the past, so my suggestions were all women.
I am proud to say that, not only is one of the rooms now named after my suggestion: Ada Lovelace (portrait as featured on the front cover), but also that there was a 50/50 split between men and woman chosen by the selection panel. If this was a sign of a new era of equity where everyone shared the same prospects, opportunities and treatment irrespective of gender, then it is certainly welcome but it has been a long time coming and I suspect there is much more work ahead to fully redress the balance – according to a recent survey, women hold just over a quarter of the tech-related jobs and there is a significant gender pay gap; a 2022/2023 sample of 15 of UK companies involved in system safety revealed, on average, women’s mean pay is 15% less than men.
To coincide with International Women in Engineering Day on 23rd June 2023, our lead article from Wendy Owen focusses on the female perspective through the stories of 14 of the women currently working in system safety. Through a series of interviews, she asks how they came to be working in system safety, their career highlights and challenges and asks them for some wise words.
I then report the highlights of the 31st Safety-Critical Systems Symposium held in York in February this year. This was the first fully attended event since the Covid pandemic and so it was a very welcome return to the types of event we’ve enjoyed in the past. We also saw a strong submission of posters this year with 13 posters many of which were on display during the poster session where delegates could talk to group members to find out more about the presented topics. For the first time, all the posters have been included in the newsletter. The posters were intended to be printed in large A0 so apologies if some of the text is small, but if you are reading this in pdf format, you can click on the poster to get a full pdf download of the poster.
I provide highlights of the Future of Testing for Safety Critical Systems seminar held in December 2022. This was a fascinating event with interesting topics in areas such as fuzz testing, automated testing and the challenges of testing of autonomous vehicles.
Mike Parsons reports on the last Tech Trip to the GWR Steam museum. The next Tech Trip will be the National Space Centre in Leicester on Saturday 24th June 2023, which promises to be a fascinating and engaging event with special insights provided by those who have worked on some of the space missions.
Our 60 second interview is with Jane Fenn. Jane has over 30 years’ experience in Safety Engineering and Engineering Management, and amongst many roles she is a SCSC Steering Group member and champion of diversity and inclusion.
Paul Hampton SCSC Newsletter Editor