According to the US Department of commerce, in China more than 40% of those working within STEM based industries are women, but in more developed countries such as the US, this number drops significantly to just 25%.
The same is true of our own engineering workforce here in the UK, where the proportion of women to men is no different than it was back in 1917, almost a century ago. Although a lot has been done in terms of gaining equality for women in the workforce and society at large, engineering seems to be an area that is still behind.
More needs to be done
Engineering magazine found that we are not alone in wanting more women engineers, as 43% think schools should be doing more to encourage girls into the core STEM subjects at an early age.
To be effective, this has to be done while they’re young because only 8% believe that this encouragement would work at A-level stage as by this point, most people have a career path in mind.
Equally, 25% believed that the responsibility lies with employers once these women have achieved their qualification to convince them to join this industry. The difficulty is that engineering is renowned for being a male-dominated field, which unfortunately puts a lot of women off.
Surprisingly, less than a quarter of respondents thought that there should be more women in engineering, which indicates how set this gender split has become.
Why the stereotype is there
A lot of this starts early on, where both boys and girls are not properly educated about what a career in engineering entails, making incorrect assumptions. A lot of women fail to realise that work as an engineer can solidify your place within a community and help their lives for the better.
To overcome this, teachers are actively given targets to encourage younger people into engineering-relevant subjects, especially girls. To introduce them into engineering, programmes have been started that allow these children to meet engineers and get a real feel for what they do day in, day out.
Benefits of engineering
Engineering is a unique career because projects the world over give you the chance to travel and experience completely different cultures. The engineering projects that you work on will make a lasting difference to communities across the globe and could be there for centuries to come.
What’s more, the engineering salary is high because this is such a valued and skilled job. While nurses and teachers can expect a salary between £20,000-£30,000, those in engineering will be looking at £40,000.
When it comes to engineering, if you’re a woman, chances are there’s many companies looking for you- so what’s stopping you?