Bristol

Egyptian refugee engineer faced discrimination

Image of Shrouk El-Attar working in a electronics laboratory Image copyright Shrouk El-Attar
Image caption Shrouk El-Attar was a finalist in the Institute of Engineering and Technology's women engineer of the year award.

A former refugee said she struggled against gender and racial discrimination in the tech industry.

Shrouk El-Attar, 27, from Bristol, said despite the discrimination, she wanted to "fight for equality in tech".

Jo Foster, from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) said equality in the sector "is a problem".

Miss El-Attar spoke after she was named as a finalist for the IET woman engineer of the year award.

According to a report from Engineering UK, just 12% of those working in engineering occupations are women.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption According to a report from Engineering UK 12% of those working in engineering occupations are women.

Miss El-Attar has been working in the tech industry as and engineer and ambassador since 2011, having come to the UK as a refugee in 2007 to escape persecution in Egypt.

She currently designs electronic circuits for industrial robotics at Renishaw.

She said there was not a "right or wrong way" to "look like an engineer".

"I want to honour every little refugee girl who was told that she can't be a mathematician, scientist, or an engineer because she escaped war, conflict, and persecution." she added.

"Hostile environment"

Miss El-Attar said the "hostile environment" the Home Office had created in the UK did not allow refugees and asylum seekers to be a "part of society" and share their skills.

"For six or seven years I wasn't able to study engineering, leave the country, work or do many things.

"Yet, at the moment in the UK we have a massive engineering shortage."

She was recognised for her efforts and was nominated as a finalist for the IET woman engineer of the year award on Thursday.

Miss Foster congratulated her and said there was a "lack of role models for girls" in the industry.

She said the nominees for the awards "demonstrate the tremendous female engineering talent in our industry today".

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