In celebration of National Women in Engineering Day, EngineerJobs asked women from across the industry: "What is the most important lesson you have learnt as a female engineer?" Here's what you had to say!
"Most importantly, don’t see yourself as a female engineer. First and foremost, you are an engineer and your gender does not need to have an impact on how you do your job or how good you are at it. At the end of the day, performance is key and if you get stuck in and get on with it people will quickly stop noticing your gender. Yes, there may always be people with old fashioned ideas as to what an engineer should look like but go and prove them wrong!
Engineering is a fantastic industry for women to work in. The job usually requires you to work in a team, which utilises women’s EQ, there is generally a good emphasis on work-life balance, and most engineering companies offer flexible hours which helps a lot with families."
Charlotte Vie, Materials Engineer, BP International Centre for Business & Technology
"The greatest lesson that I’ve learned as a woman in engineering is that I am capable.
I originally started university studying Business because it was a popular and safe choice. Midway through my major, I realized that my heart was not being fulfilled, so I did a degree change. Through research, Mechanical Engineering made me feel both the most happy and afraid. The idea of designing a product to save lives, or continually improving technology for future uses, excited me. However, my mind filled with doubts. Will I be judged as a woman?
As a girly girl, I am a bubbly person who enjoy hobbies such as cooking, gardening, fitness, and fashion. Some of my engineering peers and professors treated this as incompetency, instead of what it merely is – personality traits. However, I took the doubt of others and even myself, and made it my motivation. During my sophomore year, I uncomfortably moved 400 miles from home to work my first internship at Northrop Grumman. Before that, I voluntarily designed a Mars Rover Model for NASA, which was voted as top 250 in the nation. Now, I am working as a PDT member for Boeing. Six years ago, I told myself that I could never be an Engineer, that I was certainly not smart enough. Today, I tell myself that I can absolutely do anything, as long as I apply myself.
I wish to see the engineering stereotype quickly diminish. If I could give advice to women considering STEM, it is this: standing a part from the crowd will be your advantage, not the opposite, and that success hardly happens from staying within one’s comfort zone. Take risks, and you will be exposed to opportunities you were hindered from before."
Mary Nguyen, Student Engineer, Boeing
"That there are still times it pays to act helpless. Now, before my colleagues banish me, let me explain. We are in a world where there are still men from our grandparents generation who believe strong, independent, educated women are abhorrent. Their frame of reference tells them that their role is to help, protect, and teach girls things.
I had a faculty member that people described as a "curmudgeon" who would fight me tooth and nail - this brilliant, old school tool & die maker, who could fabricate anything, was living in a world he no longer fit in. I approached him as my mentor and asked for his guidance [even when I knew the answer or process]. He became my staunchest ally and supported most of my suggestions, even when all his colleagues voted against me. He slowly came to recognize my knowledge level and took the time to teach me processes and work-around fixes no longer taught in school."
Marikay Clancy, Process Engineer
Do you have a story you would like to share? We would love to hear from you. Get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org