It’s no longer a man’s world- Women are changing the face of engineering in a big way. When a company has a diverse perspective on its workforce, this can fuel innovation at a manufacturing and design level and can help foster creativity. Moreover, diversity in the workforce and in leadership is proven to improve performance results within an organization.
But establishing an inclusive work environment requires a dedication and commitment at all levels of a company.
Despite this being the case, women have traditionally been understated in the engineering field overall. Recently a number of companies, educational programs, and grassroots initiatives have been started to try to understand why there is such a large gender discrepancy in this field. These companies often also enthusiastically support a greater number of women in engineering and an increased acknowledgment of past and current female engineers.
In Canada, despite the fact that women tend to make up more than half of the undergraduate population in the entire country, the number of women in engineering is inexplicably low.
Up until the 1990s, undergraduate registration for females in the field of engineering varied from 17 per cent to 18 per cent. In 2001 that number rose to 20.6 per cent, but plummeted in 2010, where only 17.7 per cent of students in undergrad engineering programs were female.
Critics credited this to a number of issues, including educational institutions failing to clarify how engineering is a viable profession that improve the lives of others, a lack of awareness of the specifics of what engineers do for a living, and an overall uneasiness and intimidation for women to be in a male-dominated field – in addition to the perception that women must change their personalities to assimilate.
Despite these challenges, women are indeed the future of engineering. Without their presence, creativity and assurance of a diverse and accepting workforce, the industry is going to face a major gender challenge.
Accepting women as the next leaders in engineering will take the industry to untold new heights and will allow for new levels of creativity in a field that is becoming too exclusive.
At Pentalift, we support the advancement of women in engineering and hope to see a growing number of women in the field in an effort to diversify and bring the industry into the 21st Century.