In the past decade or so, I have read many articles about women in engineering. Every year I would take note of the same change as the year before: the significant increase in the number of women pursuing engineering related careers as compared to the previous year. One thing, however, has sadly remained constant over the past decade. The myths centered around women’s ability in engineering continue to linger around in the judgmental halls of society.
23rd June, 2023 was Women in Engineering Day and on this occasion, I would like to bring to light the most common misconceptions that our community has falsely fabricated and publicized about women's ability in engineering.
People tend to think that women lack necessary skills in mathematics and technical subjects. Let me remind you that the world’s first computer programmer was a female - Ada Lovelace - who invented a programming language almost 100 years before computers came into existence. Hedy Lamarr devised a method of encrypting signals to prevent enemy spies from listening to sensitive pieces of information, coding the command signal to jump around on different radio frequencies, preventing anyone from following it. Lamarr, too, was a female. Patricia Bath, an African American, invented the Laser-Phaco Probe, an advancement in laser technology to cure cataracts. Once again, a female.
People also say that the engineering culture is unwelcoming to women. They say that this lifestyle hinders their participation, not allowing them to flourish in these career paths. A male-dominated work environment is what fosters a sense of isolation, making it challenging to establish a women network in engineering. Till you stop believing in these myths, and stop creating new ones of your own, this so-called culture will not change. It will take effort. I have to say that it has improved by leaps and bounds in the past few years, but until we women aren’t given equal opportunities and an inclusive environment to work in, this myth will continue to loom around in society, making it harder for women to thrive in engineering related careers.
This Women in Engineering Day, take the pledge to include women wholeheartedly in your businesses. Give them the same opportunities you give to men. And then watch us shine, watch us shine with you. If we can do so much hidden in the dark, imagine what we’ll do if we’re given the same respect.