Jan’s research has had a great impact on diversity and inclusion policy but this award particularly recognises her high profile campaigning work in a very practical area – women’s safety clothing.
She led the Women’s Engineering Society (WES)’s “Purple Boot“ campaign which highlighted the deep dissatisfaction and ignorance around the issue. Jan drew attention to the call for ‘PPE that fits for all’ with a stint on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour. The impact of her awareness-raising was evident in 2016 as major employers invested in designing and supplying PPE designed for women which was not just smaller versions of men’s.
Jan says, “I am delighted to receive this honour which brings this ongoing issue to public attention: it’s pleasing to see better availability of suitable equipment – this is important in creating a culture where women are welcomed and enabled to be effective professionals in engineering. However some suppliers are still arguing that it is too expensive to invest in producing higher numbers of women’s PPE across all of the safety classifications. We have a way to go”
Following the announcement, WES tweeted a statement on social media, from which we reproduce the following:
“Jan Peters changed the face of women in science and engineering in the UK…She has been a champion of women in science and engineering and a WES member since she was a founder member of one of the most successful WES student groups at Southampton University as a PhD student…Ultimately making a difference and connecting others with the same passion to create a unified and collective voice for change has been her driving force!…Jan now has moved on to addressing wider diversity issues and continuing to collaborate with UCL Engineering – helping them to build inclusion into undergraduate engineering programmes.”