Women have had it pretty rough throughout all of human history. And although things have improved, there is still a lot of work to be done, especially when it comes to women being represented more fairly in the workplace.
More specifically, we’re talking about the number of women in engineering. According to statistics, women make up only 24% of the computing workforce. As if that’s not bad enough, the stats also indicate that that number is on the decline, with four out of ten women leaving STEM jobs, despite how dynamic and lucrative they can be.
While some of it can be attributed to raising children, the truth is, women are still being discouraged from pursuing engineering careers. For instance, we have the infamous memo posted by James Damore, a former engineer at Google, who claimed that women were less capable of working in high-tech industries, which really echoed some of the earlier stereotypes.
Science, on the other hand, tells a different story. According to researchers at Stanford, diverse engineering teams tend to lead to more diverse research, with different types of questions being asked, which wouldn’t happen if only one gender was represented on the team.
In other words, it results in better science. And that’s just one of the reasons, albeit a huge one, why we need women in engineering.
Women Are Not Less Capable
Although this is true, the number of women participating in STEM fields and looking to take the FE exam is declining. We live in a world increasingly dependent on the wonders of modern technology, but that doesn’t reflect in the number of female engineers. The reasons for this are complex, but some of them are pretty apparent, ranging from lack of encouragement to active discouragement.
There’s also something to be said about the lack of role models, or to be more specific, their lack of presence in the eyes of the public or in schools. Examples like Susan Wojcicki, the CEO of YouTube, are few and far between.
The situation is even worse in some developing countries, where women are still fighting for their right to education, or their right to equal treatment once they become engineers. And we haven’t even gotten to the ever-present misogyny and harassment in the workplace that many experience on a regular basis.
Adding a Human Touch to Technology
Although we are making some huge strides in technology, it’s not always for the good of the people – which should be the case, at least in theory. More women in engineering could represent a potential solution. According to a study by the American Association of University Women, women are more interested in careers which include helping others and working with other people.
Go for It!
One of the reasons why women should try to pursue a career in engineering has to do with nothing but common sense. Because there is a shortage of engineers in general, there are more job opportunities for women in this field. That being the case, gender starts to matter a lot less. One of the ways in which we could encourage this is by introducing engineering, science, and coding at an early age.
Not only would girls get exposed to engineering earlier on, which would generate more interest among them, but it could also level the playing field before both boys and girls have learned gender prejudices and stereotypes. Also, we need all hands on deck if we’re going to build a better world for ourselves, as well as future generations. So it’s absolutely unacceptable not to have everyone involved.
When you put all of these things together, it’s pretty clear what needs to be done. Women need more role models, more opportunities to develop their skills, and above all else, they need more support. Not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it will ultimately benefit everyone.
There is still a lot we haven’t done when it comes to engineering, and one of the priorities should be to get more women in it. The fact of the matter is, the only way into the future is with all of the population, not just half of it. That’s why we need women in engineering, and we need them today!