Today, more than ever before, attention is being paid to the lack of gender balance in many industries. One of these industries is the world of engineering. This has traditionally been a male dominated area. Much of this male domination has been due to the fact that many people see engineering as a physical and “dirty” career. This perception is starting to change, and more women are embarking on an engineering career.
However, there is still a long way to go as according to engineer recruiters at Hunter Selection, only around 12% of engineers are female. However, as in many previously male dominated careers, a change has begun.
Why is it important that more women are becoming engineers?
In an ideal world, there would never be an inequality in any industry, when it comes to male and female representation. After all, everyone should have the opportunity to progress in their chosen career, no matter what their gender.
In the world of engineering, the need for gender equality is even more urgent. This is because there are simply not enough engineers to meet demand. Recent research suggests that there is a significant shortfall in the number of engineering graduates. This is a major problem as a lack of engineers can have a significant adverse effect on the world we live in.
Aside from the issues which arise from a lack of engineers, there is another reason why it’s important for more women to enter the industry. Put simply, diversity brings with it a wider range of approaches and different ideas. This helps to improve the effectiveness of the engineering industry as a whole.
Why is there such a big gender gap in engineering?
Although work is being done to increase the number of women who choose engineering as a career, there is still a big gap between the number of female and the number of male engineers. So, why is this the case?
One reason that women are deterred from choosing male dominated careers including engineering, is that they have been brought up amidst gender stereotypes. For instance, girls may be encouraged to choose traditional “female” toys, such as dolls. On the other hand, boys are more encouraged to choose mechanical based toys. This stereotyping has tended to continue through to choosing subjects to study at school, college and university.
Another factor that may have put many women off becoming an engineer is the perception of engineering itself. It is often perceived to be a career where there is a lot of physical work which is dirty. However, this is not actually true. Engineering is actually a career which revolves around solving problems.
These problems can exist across many different situations and industries. This is why engineers need to have a good understanding about how the work that they do fits in with the business in which they work. It’s clear to see that the role of an engineer is actually a wide-ranging one and is far removed from the perception that many people have.
How to inspire women to become engineers
Taking a look at the reason why women have not traditionally become engineers helps to identify what can be done to inspire them to choose engineering as a career. This means that there needs to be a reduction in gender stereotyping from childhood. Girls need to be persuaded that engineering could be a good choice of career for them.
In order to help this happen, girls should be informed that the gender pay gap in engineering is less than in many other industries. It’s also true that female engineering graduates tend to find a full-time career more easily than many other female graduates. These are both facts that should help to encourage more females to choose engineering as a potential career.
Over the years, most girls have not even considered engineering as a potential career. This has been due to the gender stereotyping that they have been subjected to since childhood. It’s also been due to the traditional view of engineering.
Now that gender stereotyping is beginning to be reduced, and the perception of engineering as a career is changing, there is more likelihood of girls choosing to become engineers. This is important as the engineering industry needs more engineers of all genders. This increase in engineers is essential to ensuring that industry within the UK is supported by a diverse and innovative engineering workforce. There is still a way to go before we have a more balanced engineering industry in the UK put we have started to take steps along the right path.