Engineering as a field has always been envisioned as a man’s world. It is a common mindset to see most engineers as men because engineering is a physically and mentally demanding field. Traditionally, engineering might be a male dominated field but today, women are also making their mark in the male dominated engineering and technology field.
With the change in the patriarchal mindset of the society, women are getting equality in education and avenues are opening up in different fields. Women are seen more than capable of undertaking a technical education and becoming leaders in the engineering field with intelligence and hard work. Women in engineering are either equal or better than men and this is something engineering institutions and engineering organisations are recognising. For women in India, entering the engineering field has been gradual and liberating. Engineering is a great career field to find opportunities and establish oneself as a professional.
Today, leading institutions in India are seeing an increase in women engineering student numbers and are giving women the opportunity to explore engineering as a career. While engineering is a physically and mentally demanding career, women are seen capable of handling the pressures of engineering as a career field.
Top engineering institutions and universities in India like the CV Raman Global University are educating hundreds of women engineers every year and training them to be a part of the national engineering work force. As a top engineering institution of Eastern India, CV Raman Global University believes in providing quality education to every deserving student irrespective of the gender they belong to. CV Raman Global University looks at its women students as capable, intelligent and talented who can contribute majorly to the future of the engineering field. Although women are seeing an increase in representation in the field of engineering, the ratio of men to women still remains imbalanced and unequal. Women are far less in number at engineering colleges and universities because they lack the encouragement and platform to launch a professional career in engineering. While technology and engineering are accommodating women, the society needs to evolve in tandem with the technology to encourage women in this highly technical field.
The support and encouragement for women to create a career in engineering and become successful engineers starts from their families and teachers who guide them from an early stage of their academic career. Even after graduating as engineers, a safe and encouraging workplace where they get equal opportunities is an impetus for women to succeed in the field. Here are the few ways we as teachers and family members can encourage women to start a career in engineering-
- Help her see herself as a future engineer-
The envisioning of a career and shaping of ambitions begins at a very small age for the children. The dream of a career is nurtured from a very young age and this happens keeping all the conditions around them in view. From a very young age, children are encouraged to take up different careers either through the conversations they have with their parents or through the toys and games they play with. Instead of influencing their mind to condition them for taking up a certain career that parents feel as appropriate, encourage them to take up different interests and envision themselves as different professionals. If a girl picturises herself as an engineer, she should be as encouraged as she would be in any other role. Let her know that engineering is open as a career for girls and young girls can grow up to design, create and build world changing solutions.
- Spark interest in technical subjects and science-
An engineering career flourishes if the foundation is strong and fundamentals are clear. For the beginning of a career, interest in the area and related subjects is necessary. If the child loses interest in the subjects needed for an engineering career later, it is less likely for them to seriously pursue the field as a career. Their interest and curiosity should be aimed at something fruitful from an early age and introducing them to the easier levels of the subjects definitely helps them later.
- Keeping a growth mindset for their progress-
A child or a young student learns more through his or her mistakes and the general mindset towards them taking up an interest in engineering should be a liberal approach knowing that their mind is a clean slate. Looking at their progress with patience and encouraging them to learn from their mistakes is going to create a more open and learning mindset for them that helps them in future to overcome roadblocks on the path to technical learning. Keeping a mindset that girls might not be as fast in learning as boys does not help in encouraging them for a career in the scientific or technical field.
- Help her find new friends who can encourage her-
Peer to peer learning is a true phenomenon that happens at schools and colleges. In today’s world, friends and peers have as much an influence on the girls’ mindset and decisions as parents. As an encouraging parent who wants to ensure that his child takes up a persisting interest in engineering, make sure that the children she mixes with are the ones who share the same interest as her and do not discourage her from taking a serious interest in science and technology.
- Help them become hands on-
Becoming an engineer is about practical applications of science more than the theoretical understanding of the concepts of engineering. Sometimes kids and students understand more through using different tools and building projects than they do through books. Encouraging girls to acquaint themselves with the various engineering tools and projects and taking up different scientific experiments during their learning phase can be a very decisive step in creating a future engineer out of them. While it is not a traditional thought to allow girls to tinker with machines and projects, letting them take up different projects and be hands on with their experiments can encourage the engineers inside them.
- Make them join national and international organisations that offer short engineering courses-
There are many organisations and engineering institutions at the national and international level that offer foundational engineering courses to interested students. Enrolling the interested students into these courses can give a certain direction to their interest in engineering and push them towards a career in engineering. Helping them learn through various short courses and addressing their concerns in the field of engineering can help them gain clarity on the direction they want to navigate in in their career.
- Boost their problem-solving skills-
One of the key skills that a future engineer should possess is the skill of problem solving and critical thinking. Problem solving skills help engineering students to come up with real life solutions. Engage your child in activities and games that help her think and solve a problem. Solving small problems and developing higher order thinking skills from a young age can help the kids in learning the basic concepts of engineering and address problems with a scientific approach.
- Enrol her for computer awareness and learning classes-
Today, being skilful in computer usage and functions is as important as any other aspect of education. Being adept at using computers is especially important for students because computers are used in every field, especially in the engineering field. For students who want to pursue a career in software or computer science engineering, it is particularly important to be well versed with the use and functions of a computer. Getting them enrolled into a computer education program so that they are digitally educated and are ahead of their peers in this matter is important.
- Explore technology with her-
As parents and teachers, it is important that we share the learning experience with them and are partners in their journey towards an engineering career. An engineer’s journey starts with the exploration of science and for a child the presence of a parent as a support while they take the first steps into the depth of science is an encouraging and happy experience. Help her with her projects, teach her what you know about engineering, visit science fairs with her or get her a science kit and start helping her explore it. There are many ways that you can introduce her to the marvels of technology.
- Present her with role models of the field-
Children are more likely to follow the footsteps of their idols and influencers on them. Make sure that you introduce them to great scientists, women engineers, and other highly educated women who have contributed to changing the world. By giving them role models of exemplary women who have created a niche in the field of science and engineering, you will be inspiring them to go ahead and follow their footsteps into the realm of engineering.