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WIE Ethical Engineering Series | Decolonising Engineering

Women in Engineering

The University of Strathclyde’s Women in Engineering Society is putting on a series of events  to discuss different topics related to Ethical Engineering: climate change, white saviourism, inclusion, and feminism.

These events are open to all, and attendance to more than one is encouraged! We will be building our personal ethical frameworks as it applies to engineering with important lessons and conversations about each specific topic.

About this event

Engineering is all about providing practical solutions for practical problems, but often we forget to consider the broader context or the relationships of the people involved. Who has the problem, and who is offering to fix it? Who or what caused the problem in the first place? And what motivations lie behind our instincts to offer to help with particular problems?

One area where these questions are particularly relevant is in international projects, which engineers from the UK often become involved with at some point in their career. Whether it’s a service-learning trip during undergrad or decades long research partnership with a university from another country, it’s rare for the topics of power dynamics or colonial histories to come up in engineering discussions. And if they do, it’s often in retrospect or much later in the project.

But what if we got proactive about our roles in these systems and could learn to counteract them? In this event, we will hear from a fascinating range of guests on how study abroad programs are portrayed in marketing depending on what country they are held in, what a start-up is doing in Peru to guide communities to sustainability through a bottom-up approach, and how engineers can reframe their thinking about international community-based projects. We will discuss how we can ethically participate in projects the world over and avoid acting as white saviours.


  • Zuleka Woods, Doctoral Candidate in Planning, Governance, and Globalization, Virginia Tech
  • Andres Bustamante, Social Entrepreneur
  • Dr Patricia Xavier, Water Engineer

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