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Talk about engineering, and all you will get to hear is: “Ah! That is meant for boys, what would the girls do there”; “Those mechanical things are not meant to be handled by girls”; or even “Girls are better in the field of medical or home science” and  what not? But everyone is indeed wrong here, engineering for girls is certainly not a far-fetched notion!

Engineering for Girls: Present Scenario

There was a time when engineering used to stand out as a male-dominant industry and we could find only a handful of female students roaming in an engineering college campus or in the industries. But with the passage of time came the age of gender equality, and we now are witnessing a steep rise in the numbers of female candidates opting for engineering. But still, there’s an absolute need to increase the percentage of female candidates in the field of engineering and to make them understand and gain the technical know-how of the field. Also, there’s a need to carry along the parents and the career counselors  as well, who sometimes act as a barrier to the career choice considered by girls. The fact is, little girls really do enjoy doing science stuff and building things. They just need to be shown that engineering for girls is a nice option as well, against the wrongly believed social norm that “feminine” and “scientific” don’t mix.

The Underlying Issues

Engineering is basically a combination of theory and practice. Engineers are a bunch of problem solvers who apply math, science, technology and design to solve problems in business and management. However, the parents often tend to get confused whether it’ll be good for their girl to opt for mathematics or science stream, but studies have shown that girls do tend to have a keen interest in the field of math and science from their early age till it starts to decrease with time. For assisting them through their confusion, we will have to create an awareness among these parents that their girls do have the potential to excel in the field of engineering, and that they too can grow and prosper in the field of engineering. The way people now think that engineering is a cakewalk for boys, they will have to think the same for the girls in the same way. There is an urgent need today to open the doors for girls in the field of engineering and to show them what they might have missed so far. And hence when someone asks me “why engineering for girls?”, I strongly reply “why not?”.

Evolution of Engineering towards Gender Neutrality

That being said, engineering also offers a wide variety of courses and opens up a plethora of opportunities for girls to excel in this field. But still, the mindset of keeping engineering out of reach for girls has to do more with the history than our present. Yes, engineering was a very demanding job during the industrial revolution and required a continuous on-site presence, often coupled with harsh surrounding environments with a strong male domination. But with the advancements in the fields of science and technology happened in the last century, we now have engineering streams which don’t require a continuous on-site presence in the field to get the job done. Engineering today is not only restricted to the core streams of Mechanical, Electrical and Civil, but has evolved into many diverse avenues like electronics & communication, computer science, biotechnology, chemical, nanotechnology, mechatronics, agriculture etc. And engineers are trying to address much more broader and perhaps even global challenges like the global warming, climate change, space exploration etc. And hence the concerning mindset should also be changed taking into consideration all these aforementioned changes.

The Brighter Side: Way Forward for Girls

Yes, there still are some major hurdles in this direction. But the society’s expectations with respect to girls in the engineering stream are also shifting gradually along the way, which previously wasn’t the case. We have so many inspiring stories of women who’ve excelled in the engineering field, who’ve reached those landmark feats. Today any women/girl can easily excel in this the engineering sector. And even the industry is shouting out loud that they need engineers who not only have the proficient technical capability, but also good communication skills to be able to work effectively in a team. Women provide a different perspective towards a problem and hence are very helpful for the industry. Personally speaking, I being an engineering graduate have seen my fellow lady batchmates doing great work, and I have witnessed how much determined and focused they are towards the particular task in hand.

Another advantage for women in the engineering field today is that the companies are flexible and offer various time management and support programs for women, which can help them to create a proper work-life balance. They encourage women workforce by providing them with initiatives like work flexibility, work from home programs and maternity leaves. Initiatives like these also make it easy for a women to join an engineering company even after some gap in their careers.

Engineering has now become an equal opportunity employer. So if you dream to become a successful engineer, there will be nobody to stop you other than yourself. Engineers are essentially problem solvers. And if you think that you really want to do engineering and possess enough motivation, industries are open to you now.

Yes, engineering for girls is a great option! And we hope to see a steep rise in the numbers of female students in the engineering field in future. All the very best!

Ps- Ideally, gender or any such thing should not be a weighing factor while choosing a career. The only thing that should really matter is your own desire, aptitude and personality. Read more here about how to pick the best career for yourself on the basis of your personality.

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