As a girl currently studying Mechanical and Medical Engineering, I have been made well aware of the gender ratio in engineering. I know some people’s perception of the ‘push’ to get girls into engineering is just because we think we can do a better job, but it’s really not. The whole point of girls joining the sector of engineering is to diversify the work place because the female and male minds are stronger at working in different ways. We all have our strengths and weaknesses but when we work together we find the best and most efficient solutions to engineering problems.
I think there are so many reasons why girls choose not to study engineering such as it sounding ‘manly’ or ‘boring’. Even some people that don’t know about it think it’s about fixing cars! I know that some girls are put off because it is full of men and I used to think the same when I was at school. I have found that Medical Engineering seems to have more of a 60/40 split of boys to girls. This may be due to the medical aspect because I know some people use Medical Engineering as a back up from studying medicine. However, when I attend lectures (for Mechanical Engineering) you could play ‘spot the female’ because there are so few girls there and I only have one female lecturer!
The fact that there are more boys than girls always seems to be expressed in a negative way, rather than a positive thing to motivate girls. I think people need to stop focusing on trying to persuade girls to pursue a career in engineering because of the gender ratio and try to encourage them based on what they can gain from studying such a challenging and rewarding subject.
I have decided to set up this blog because I want to try and get other girls into engineering by sharing my experiences at university and studying engineering as a degree. I had little encouragement into engineering until I got to college and considered what I would like to study at university. I think that was because the ‘big push’ to get girls into engineering was in it’s early stages. I never heard what it was like to study engineering from a girl, and I think if I had that reassurance I would have felt much more confident starting at university.
Anyone that knows me knows that I am a typical ‘girlie’ girl and I love anything pink and sparkly and to be quite honest I’m not tall enough to reach some of the machinery nor do I have enough strength to operate half of the machinery in the workshop at uni; but I haven’t let that stop me.
Just because there aren’t many girls doesn’t mean it’s a “man’s” profession, it means girls have the opportunity to prove that you don’t need to be a man to do it.
Women can engineer.