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Under-representation of women in engineering

Engineering is the most fundamental profession which helps in development of the world and make it a better place to live. This happens because there are individuals of opposite sex which are involved that have all the necessary skills that enable them to change the world in a way which best suits them, keeping in mind that these changes are to make the world a better place. There has been an imbalance when it comes to the of number individuals who are involved in this profession. There are more men than women. It is because over the years engineering profession was entitled as men profession this has been passed on for years hence there are fewer women involved. There are certain aspects which have been evaluated and are found as contributing factors for this to be true.

Gender inequality is a commonly experienced challenge in all profession sectors. Women are mostly the victims. This is because men are seen as superiors in this profession than women. They are always given the first preferences in the workplace and outside the workplace. Opportunities that are more beneficial are mostly presented to men this includes projects that a company may be involved in, “Networking opportunities and promotion go to men in tech careers at higher rate than to women” (Michaels, L, 2016). This in turn leads to women leaving the profession as they will be having a low-self-esteem due to the conditions they are facing at their workplace. It is a known fact that some cannot endure in their own work if they are experiencing gender inequality. The end result of this is thus having fewer women joining the profession as one has to work under unfavourable conditions.

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Gender inequality is a barrier between a woman and her progression in the field. One of the contributing factors for gender inequality is lack of role models(women) in the field(Schaffer, 2018). Prof. Schaffer emphasised that all the technologies are largely designed by men for the benefit of men. Women don’t have anything which they can reflect on that will motivate them in this field because everything is done for the benefit of the opposite sex. In a nutshell they cannot be motivated by other women due to an inequality that is displayed in this field. (Tonnesen, 2017)

Women are less likely to receive all the support they need for their progression in this field as the number of women in this field is lesser than that of men (Hill, 2010). Catherine made mention of the underestimation of women who are very good in Math from their schooling ages which simply implies that women who are willing to pursue their careers in engineering and are good in Math are overlooked at and they don’t receive enough support according to their abilities in this field. There are cases whereby women are not being supported when we disregard their abilities in Maths and Sciences.

There are women who want to gain knowledge about this field yet they are not supported nor taught all the necessary fundamentals in achieving what they desire in this field. Women who are leaders in their projects are often not supported as they seen as engineers who can’t perfect their work. There has to be a male involved for a woman to be considered and supported by others either in the workplace or their associates (Hill, 2010). Without support women struggle to achieve their desires in this field as it is one of the fundamental qualities that has to be displayed in this field since engineering focuses more on teamwork rather than individual work (Crawford, 2012).

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Sexual harassment is one of the contributing factors (Kirkland, 2018). In 2014 there was a survey conveyed which showed that 71% of women are sexually harassed while they are conducting their field research. This led to women feeling unsafe in their workplace due their gender or sex (Rutherford-Morrison, 2017). There are three types of harassment which are commonly displayed in this field namely: gender harassment which includes sexist hostility and crude behaviour. Unwanted sexual attention which is more of unwelcome verbal or physical sexual advances. The third one is sexual coercion which is when favourable or professional educational treatment is conditioned is sexual activity (unknown, 2018). These sexual assaults have an impact on women’s career as they tend to have low self-esteem and give easily on their career. (unknown, 2018)

In engineering competition is a key factor one’s progress in the field, but this is true only if the competition is healthy (unkown, 2014). Companies do these competitions to promote teamwork but women are always overlooked at as they are always pressurised to do better than the opposite sex which is unfair. Once a woman is a leader in her workplace there are individuals if not an individual which will compete with her due to her position (Ibrahim, 2018). Competition occurs in the workplace between individuals(internal) and (external) between associates. Other companies tend to be picky on those they co-operate with (unkown, n.d.). This affects our women leaders because there will be no one who is willing to associate themselves due to their positions. A position nor sex (or gender) does not define a leader but the qualities that a particular has defines a true leader amongst leaders.

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Women often feel as though they do not belong in the engineering field (Michaels, 2016). This is because the great majority of men in this profession than women. They then find it hard to bond(socialise) with their co-workers. Often men are the ones who lead meetings and crack jokes yet when a woman does that it is unacceptable (Erin, 2015). In an interview by Erin she mentioned that men would complement her when she is well dressed yet she (or they: other women) would be left out if men went out to enjoy themselves. She said it was important for them to all go out and enjoy themselves as it created an easy way for them to socialise well which in turn will result in them working together without one being excluded.

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