Happy International Women in Engineering Day! In honor of the holiday, I wanted to share some insight into the good and the bad of being a woman in engineering, and my hopes for the future.
Being Alone at The Table
While being a woman in engineering has come a long way, there is still so much progress to be made. Out of countless interviews, I have only ever been interviewed by women twice. Out of countless company sponsored dinners, I have never been with more than two other women. In my coursework, I have been in many groups where I was the only woman.
I think it is important to acknowledge the difficulty of always feeling like the odd person out just because of your gender. The crazy part of it is that it has nothing to even do with your personality. I play sports, I grew up with two brothers, and I play video games, yet I always feel so separated from the guys sitting next to me.
When learning to use surveying equipment for the first time in a course, I had the same level of experience as the guys in my group, but every time I was the person designated to take notes or just observe instead of setting up the equipment. The saddest part was that I soon noticed that it wasn’t just me. In almost every group, being female pretty much just meant you ‘probably had the best handwriting’ or ‘probably made things look prettier’. Despite being on the same playing field, for some reason we were still left out.