Women in Engineering: The challenges and the barriers
Being a woman in engineering can be challenging because it means I am the minority. Therefore, I stand out. This can be difficult at times, but also has allowed me to work even harder and succeed.
Throughout my education and career, I have learned that good problem-solving skills are necessary for an engineering career. Problem-solving skills support the overall creation of solutions. Without these skills, engineers-no matter their experience-will run into more challenges and/or barriers. Innovation and curiosity go hand-in-hand when it comes to succeeding in the engineering field, and I have found that this, paired with a passion for what I do, allows me to do my best while creating new solutions.
Engineers within some industries are often content with how things have always been, and that is the worst thing that can happen. I believe that pushing forward and challenging how things are typically done is one of the most important things to do in your engineering career. It can be difficult, but I always do my best to break down barriers and ensure my voice is heard.
There are definitely some challenges for a woman pursuing a career in a male-dominated field. It can be intimidating to be in the minority, which can lead to a lack of confidence due to feeling out of place and like you don’t quite fit in. I learned that diving into my responsibilities by working hands-on and learning about the industry helped me to develop important skills and build confidence.
It also helped to proactively ensure I was included in group activities, rather than waiting to be invited along. It took some time to adapt, but it was definitely worth it. If this area of study was not perceived as predominantly male, I think young girls would be more enthusiastic to test their abilities in STEM fields. This career path naturally intrigued me; however, I also had family, friends, and mentors help build my confidence to overcome any stigmas about females in the engineering field.
Throughout my career, I have seen a need for hands-on learning day in and day out, especially in my current role. Hands-on learning has largely made me successful in overcoming potential challenges and barriers. My intellectual curiosity has helped me advance to where I am now and has been vital to my success in the ever-changing field of engineering.
The largest challenge on the path to becoming an engineer was gaining work experience. To overcome this challenge, I spent many hours researching and applying to internships during my early years of college.