Did you know that only 12% of professional engineers are women? Twelve!
On February 25th, the world will be celebrating Girl Day. Woman, Are you ready?
Girl Day takes place during Engineers Week, a week dedicated to getting kids interested in engineering and promoting conversations about the growing need for engineers. Girl Day is a special day devoted to showing girls the creative side of engineering and inspiring them to pursue engineering and STEM career paths. See the info graphic below.
Women and girls are three times less likely to pursue engineering degrees and careers than their male peers, and women currently represent only 25% of science, technology engineering and math professionals. Misha Malyshev, CEO of Teza Technologies, partners with nonprofits to provide hands-on STEM learning opportunities for young women. Girl Day and is an opportunity to celebrate women in engineering, and teach girls about the difference they can make in the world as an engineer or STEM professional.
Reasons why women take less chances in engineering include lack of female engineering role models, misconceptions of what it is like to be an engineer, and having fewer technical problem-solving opportunities compared to men.
It’s not that women aren’t wanted. Women is necessity.
“I don’t know any institution today that is not trying to hire more women scientists and engineers,” says one science historian. But many cultural forces continue to stand in the way — ranging from girls being steered toward other professions from an early age, gender bias and sexual harassment in the workplace to the potentially career – stalling effects on women of having children. Also, the stereotype that links masculinity to technology is, unfortunately, still prevalent and difficult to overcome. We wish to change that. An environment that truly welcomes women will see women excel as students and as professional engineers.
Girl, who wouldn’t want to make a change? Chase the magic of STEM education to your community, now.
What can be done to encourage and support women in male-dominated industries such as science and engineering?
“I believe there are a number of obstacles which people – especially women – face when it comes to careers in engineering. There are perception issues – science and maths are seen as being only for a ‘brainy’ few and there are outdated assumptions that women are not as good at STEM subjects as men. The OCED’s 2011 Report on the Gender Initiative: Gender Equality in Education, Employment and Entrepreneurship showed that there is no intrinsic difference in the ability of men and women in science and maths. Any difference that appears can be attributed to cultural issues. We need to make sure that no one in the work-place believes that one gender is better than the other, and that women are well-respected for their abilities“, an interview with Roma Agrawal, a structural engineer at WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, one of the world’s leading engineering professional services consulting firms.
We can increase the likelihood that young women gifted in math and science will go into engineering by educating teachers and professors to take them seriously, and to provide them with a clear understanding of the options available to them. However, there is no reason why ‘less talented’ women should not also benefit from such encouragement, After all, ‘less talented’ men enter the occupation regularly. For many men, the math requirements of an engineering major are a somewhat unpleasant hurdle that must be jumped. These men are not academic superstars, but they are competent enough to squeak by. Parents and teachers should encourage similarly able women to do the same.
Providing girls and young woman with a sense of importance on math and mechanical skills, and with opportunities to develop those skills, would surely go a long way toward enlarging their horizons, both occupationally and socially.
Let me share Sheila Widnall‘s top ten reasons why women are important to the profession of engineering.
10. Women are a major force in our society. We are self conscious about our role and determined to be heard.
9. Women are 50% of the consumers of products in our society and make over 50% of the purchasing decisions.
8. Who today would choose a profession that did not have a significant percentage of women?
7. Women are integrators. We are experts at parallel processing, at handling many things at once. Women are comfortable in fuzzy situations.
6. Women are team builders. Women inherently practice what is now understood as an effective management style.
5. Engineering should be/could be the 21st century foundation for all of the professions.
4. Women are 50% of our intellectual resource. Without women, engineering will need to access-say-the upper 20% of our talent to fill its human requirements. With women, it will be able to access -say- the upper 10%.
3. Women are a major force in the professions of law, medicine, the media, politics and business.
2. Women are active in technology. Often they have simply by-passed engineering on their way to successful careers in technology.
1. Women are committed to the important values of our times, protecting the environment, product safety, education and have the political skill to be effective in resolving these issues. They will do this with or without engineering. Women are going to be a huge force in the solution of human problems.
Why is it so important that we encourage more women to go into the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)? Individually, we can’t change the fact girls make up a very small percentage of the programmers, engineers, and scientists shown on television and in movies, nor can we change the way the media portrays girl “geeks.” What we can do, however, as a simple step basis is to start making a difference in our community and in the lives of the young girls we know personally. Everything starts from a single coin. One day we will just woke up, the young girls we help will grow up to cure diseases, write computer programs, discover the next technological advances, and ultimately change the world.
My hopes are up that tomorrow I would see engineering classrooms full of bright, young, enthusiastic students, both male and female in roughly equal proportions, who are excited about the challenge of applying scientific and engineering principles to the technical problems facing our society.
Women belong in engineering. Women have always contributed to the diverse fields of engineering in modern and historical times. The history of women in engineering predates the development of the profession.
We, Women, want it all. We can connect with the important issues facing our society. We want critical. We want full lives. We want important work. We want satisfying and rewarding careers. We deserve it, because We Belong.