Equal opportunities for all

The two most recent United Nations Sustainable Development Goals reports (UN, 2019; 2020) shed light on the progress the world is making to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and highlight the areas that need urgent attention. Both reports show that despite advances in a number of areas over the past four years on some of the SDGs, progress has been slow or even reversed1. The most vulnerable people and countries continue to suffer the most and the global response has not been sufficiently ambitious. Engineers play a pivotal role in addressing challenges for the planet and people, and the COVID-19 pandemic has created new challenges and opened up new opportunities for engineering professionals. Engineers are problem solvers, providing solutions to societal challenges as they build a sustainable world. However, more engineers need to be trained and enter the workforce. The world today is home to the largest generation of young people in history, 1.8 billion. Close to 90 per cent of which live in developing countries where they constitute a significant proportion of the population. At the same time, women engineers are grossly under represented. Ensuring equal opportunities for all and reducing inequalities (SDG 10), providing decent work and economic growth (SDG 8) and ensuring gender equality (SDG 5) will enable a more representative cross-section of people to join the engineering workforce and thus contribute to a fairer, more resilient and more sustainable world, which is at one with nature.

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