A young woman trying to further her education would not be short of advice from family and friends. The advice can range from what course to study to enhance her career prospects to the best place to study.
Most often than not, this advice hardly mentions engineering as a career. There is this sense that some courses and ultimately careers are better suited to some sexes.
It is the same way you hardly hear family or friends advising a young male student to choose a program that would lead to a career in nursing. There are many other courses or careers out there that are wrongly thought to be better suited to one sex.
Read on to see some of the myths about women in engineering and why they are so wrong.
Maths and science too difficult for women
Science, especially maths is one of the bedrock of any engineering course. To discourage women, people tell them maths and science are too difficult.
The major reason why women find it hard to cope with maths, according to these myths peddlers, is because the female brain is structured differently from the male brain. In other words, the male brain is better wired to handle difficult maths and science subjects.
This is not true. There is no scientific evidence to show a difference between the brains of both sexes. The fact that women generally tend to be more emotional has no relationship with their ability to handle complex figures.
It is a male-dominated field
This is one of the most pervasive myths about women in engineering. And it is a consequence of the myth #1.
But the fact is, most careers are dominated by males. The reason for this gender inequality is directly linked the how the larger society views women.
It wasn’t long, compared to the males, that women were allowed some of the rights men have always taken for granted. One of this is the right to be educated up to the highest level and to aspire to any profession.
In some countries, women are still deprived of these rights. Which in turn affects the number of women in almost all professions including engineering.
But many recent studies have shown that in countries where women enjoy all their rights, the number of women engineers are increasing yearly.
Women never make it to the top in Engineering
This also is just a myth perpetuated by traditionalists and the uneducated. The world of the 21st century is full of women who have reached the top of their careers.
These are highly respected women who have shown that all things being equal, women don’t need special consideration to be the best in the field of engineering.
For instance, Diane Green is considered one of the best engineers in her field. She is so good that Google paid her almost $400 million to buy her small firm and at the same time hire her to head Google’s cloud computing business.
And Magdalena Matte, who made it to the top of the Civil engineering profession, is well respected both in her native Chile and around the world.
There are so many other examples of women engineers at the top of their organizations.
Engineering requires a lot of physical strength
Again, this is another myth peddled by the ignorant. Engineering has so many divisions that don’t require the use of physical strength. For instance, software engineers only work with computer codes and tiny integrated circuits that even kids can carry about.
Even in the field of civil and mechanical engineering, there are important fields that don’t require people to do some heavy lifting. Even if there is something heavy to move around, any self-respecting firm would have modern machines to do that work. These machines can be controlled with just buttons on a console.
So as a female, never limit your choices by buying into these myths. As a matter of fact, don’t buy any gender-based advice on any career or course of study in the university.