Women in Engineering: Making the industry more gender-neutral?
“I think it’s on the individuals in the industry to expand their networks to work with women more.”
Some people are still surprised when I say I’m an engineer. But this doesn’t mean that I’m treated differently or have fewer or different opportunities.
At Victaulic I do feel like I’ve been offered the same opportunities as male coworkers. However, female engineers at other companies might not have been afforded this same equality. I think that the industry should highlight opportunities for women engineers and showcase their work more, so that young females can relate and consider engineering as a career field.
I believe I have as much opportunity at Victaulic as any of my male counterparts due to the efforts by Victaulic leadership to involve women and develop all of us. In general it’s such a male-dominated industry that it’s easy to fall in a pattern of sticking with the types of people who are very similar to you, so I think it’s on individuals in the industry to expand their networks to work with women more.
Fortunately for me, I am employed by a company that is aware of the skewed gender ratio in this field, and that has made an effort to ensure I have all the same opportunities that are available to any of my coworkers. I work in an environment that is open and encourages everyone to succeed and take advantage of new opportunities. Victaulic is very in touch with their employees; they recognize individuals based on skill sets and success, not gender.
We still have a ways to go to ensure our work environments are gender-neutral. It is important for women to feel that they can be a part of a team and thrive. Human resources teams and hiring managers can be at the forefront of filling the industry’s gender gap by ensuring female candidates are considered. But step one is for more young women to pursue STEM positions in the construction industry; currently, we still represent the minority of job candidates. The good news is that companies like Victaulic strive towards teams that are diverse in gender, and so there are many great opportunities for women to pursue in STEM.
Fortunately I have never felt like there was a gender bias against me. I have always been offered the same opportunities as my male coworkers at Victaulic. Strong leadership throughout the industry can continue to drive a culture that will allow every engineer, regardless of gender, the same opportunities.