National Women in Engineering DayTuesday, June 23, 2015 12:00 AM
Today, (23rd of June), is National Women in Engineering Day and as a female first year engineering student hopefully you’ll find some of my experience’s studying and advice helpful if you’re considering a career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM).
Why do we need Women in Engineering Day?
In an ideal world no one would be put of picking a subject at university because of their gender, but unfortunately that is often the case. There’s no denying the statistics that show that women are massively underrepresented in STEM but this isn’t something to be afraid of! There are challenges and you do come across people with outdated opinions but they are few and far between. People have really woken up to the need to encourage and support women and there is loads of help out there in the form of scholarships from organisations such as the IET, IMechE and WISE to help you through your studies.
Is STEM for you?
National Women in Engineering Day isn’t about forcing anyone to study something they don’t want to. Unfortunately though there are a lot of people making big decisions about their future without all the information they need to find something they’d truly enjoy. In my blog on applying to university the first thing I said was make sure you choose a subject you love and this really is essential. Do your research! Don’t be put of studying a subject that you feel is right for you because of other people’s opinions; other people aren’t going to be the ones putting in the work, you are, so you need to know that you’re doing something you’ll find fun.
Don’t believe the myths
There are loads of myths about women studying STEM and you need to be able to separate them from the facts!
‘SCIENCE ISN’T FOR ME, I’M A CREATIVE PERSON’ This is the one that irritates me most of all. How do you think people imagine things that aren’t there before without an innovative and creative view of things. Yes, you need to be good academically in science and maths, but don’t assume that creativity won’t fit in a STEM career – that’s a myth.
‘WOMEN’S BRAINS WORK DIFFERENTLY TO MENS, SO THEY STRUGGLE’ This one just isn’t true! I don’t really think I should have to explain it but if you do your best that’s personal to you – your gender doesn’t play a part in that.
‘I’LL BE ALL ON MY OWN’ There is partly truth to this at least – as a woman you may be in a minority (for the time being) but there are loads of support networks and help is available, as I mentioned above, so I’ve never found that this is something to be scared of.
Even if you’ve never considered it before, if you’re good at maths or science and wondering what to pick to study why not take a look at some of the subjects available, there will be loads that you don’t even realise exist! If you like biology but don’t want to do medicine – what about biomedical engineering? If you like physics and chemistry – what about looking at materials science or metallurgy? There’s such a wide range of things to do.
Happy Women in Engineering Day