Women in Fire Engineering Conference


Women in Fire Engineering Conference February 2023. The first conference for women in the fire industry.

In 2021, the Institution of Fire Engineers launched their women’s networking group. One year on, and the group continues to go from strength to strength.  The group aims to Support, Develop and Inspire women in the fire industry and already has a membership of 800 individuals on their LinkedIn Group page.

The group is particularly keen to inspire others by increasing the visibility of women within the fire industry.  Representation matters; when we see someone who looks like us or has a similar story to ours in leadership, it’s easier to believe that we can progress to those levels too.  As Elizabeth Marvel said, “If you can see it, you can be it”.

Our first year

In its first year, the Group has:

  • Established a programme of monthly webinars, providing both technical and inspirational presentations
  • Run workshops to support those applying for MIFireE and IEng in completing applications
  • Increased diverse representation by providing women speakers at in-person conferences and online roundtable discussions
  • Promoted the group by hosting stands at 5 industry conferences this year, including Fire 2022, London Build, SheCanEngineer and the Women in Fire Service event
  • Promoted diversity and inclusivity in the fire industry world-wide through webinars, online roundtable discussions, debates, podcasts and international trade magazine articles
  • Undertaken educational visits to schools and careers events to promote fire engineering to the next generation

Reflecting on when she began her career in fire safety 20 years ago, Andrea White established the group to help others and provide the support network she felt would have benefited her.

The Committee has received substantial positive feedback from members regarding the group’s work and the inspiration it is giving to others in the fire industry and in other male-dominated industries.


Plans for next year

Continuing to build on their success this year, the Group has bigger plans for 2023, including:

  • The industry’s first Women in Fire Engineering Conference, focusing on empowerment – see below for more details
  • Stronger partnerships with industry exhibitions including Fire Buyer Live, London Build, The Fire Safety Event and Firex
  • Greater support for those wishing to develop their career


In-person conference

The Group is holding its first in-person conference on 9th February 2022 at Norton Park Hotel, near Winchester.

This is an opportunity for delegates to discuss, collaborate and network with a focus on empowerment.  Women often suffer with a lack of confidence which can lead to a lack of self-promotion, leaving them unseen and undervalued.  The conference aims to address this issue.

We are delighted that Dr Barbara Lane, Arup Fellow, Director of the Arup University and officer to the Arup Group Board, will give the keynote speech.

This will be followed by a roundtable discussion on the challenges that women face working in the fire industry.

We then have 3 expert presentations on empowerment topics by leading executive coaches:

  • Mel Stanley will be covering how to make an Impact
  • Sara Pardoe-Flay will speak on assertiveness & confidence
  • Sarah Farmer will provide insight on influencing skills

The conference will conclude with a Panel Q & A session.

Our sponsors for the event are:

  • Hydrock – Headline sponsor
  • ASFP
  • Apollo Fire Detectors
  • Ove Arup
  • Checkmate Fire Solutions
  • New Build Database

We are also grateful for support from Fire Buyer Live, Nineteen Group, the Fire Safety Event and Global HSE Solutions.


To Find Out More

Membership of the IFE Women’s Networking Group is free and open to all, including women and male allies who support what we do and what we stand for.  Members do not have to be affiliated to a particular institution or professional body.  For more information on how to participate in our events, see our LinkedIn Group page at: The Institution of Fire Engineers – Women’s Networking Group | Groups | LinkedIn


Andrea White, Founder and Chair of the Institution of Fire Engineers Women’s Networking Group.
Contact details:  Andrea.white@awfire.co.uk


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