Women in Engineering: How far have we gone?


Women in Engineering: How far have we gone?

Engineering has made the world a more comfortable place than it has ever been. Since the renaissance era, engineering has undergone a lot of advances. However, many people including women still perceive engineering as a male profession. It is worthy to note that women make up approximately half of the student population in tertiary institutions across the world. Yet, they are usually under-represented in engineering faculties. We cannot deny the fact that their exploits and contribution to engineering is immense. This is one of the reasons behind events such as the International Women in Engineering Day organized by the Women’s Engineering Society. Female engineers need to be celebrated for their immense contribution and exploits in the field of Engineering.


There are many women who have achieved groundbreaking feats in the engineering field. Ada Lovelace is well known for her collaboration with Charles Babbage on the analytical engine. Thus, earning her the title of “the first computer programmer”.  In 1876, Elizabeth Bragg became the first graduate of engineering in the United States. She received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. However, there hasn’t been a change in the situation since the days of Elizabeth Bragg when engineering was still perceived as a man’s world. Notwithstanding, we cannot sit back and let this issue weigh us down.


Gender discrimination is still a thing in the labour market, especially when applying for an engineering position. Asides this, many female engineers develop an inferiority complex because men outnumber them at their workplace. We haven’t even mentioned the fact that there are still cultural biases regarding female engineers. This is probably one of the reasons why men outnumber the women in the engineering sector. Before anything can be done, we must accept that a lot has to be done to lay these issues to bed.


Companies should create policies that protect women in their employ. Also, sensitization programs can be organized by relevant groups and associations to build the interest of young girls in engineering. Asides that, putting together a mentorship program will encourage young girls to take up engineering as a profession. Educational institutions can also set up academic clubs for young girls interested in engineering. This will steer them in the right direction towards becoming an engineer.


There is a common proverb which goes by the wordings, “two heads are better than one.” Most millennials and their contemporaries are social-media savvy. A revolution can be triggered online by the click of a button or even a hashtag on Twitter. You can join the movement by using @INWED1919 #INWED18 #RaisingTheBar to spread the message.


On the 23rd of June every year, women in engineering are celebrated. The aim of this annual event is to bring the exploits of female engineers to light and inspire a burning passion for engineering in the minds of young girls. Let us all join hands in celebrating these engineering amazons that have achieved a lot despite all odds.