To mark International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) 2018 on 23 June, Emma Cygan, Design and Development engineer at steering system supplier Pailton Engineering debunks the myths surrounding women in engineering.
‘Women are only good at soft skills’
Stereotypical gender roles are heavily debated, with some women reaching adulthood with an inbuilt, subconscious idea that they must find a career that uses their communication skills and empathy. The reality is, interaction skills aren't gender-exclusive and is something both women and men should strive for.
How can you design a novel steering component, for example, if you can't communicate effectively with your customer?
‘Women can’t reach top positions in engineering’
Women should be confident that they have the same potential for career progression as their male equivalents.
The Women in Engineering annual Top 50 Women in Engineering under 35: Many of the women in this list are in senior and managerial roles, even at a relatively young age. In the midst of a national skills gap, it's women like these that have leveraged the opportunity to make a name for themselves.
Statistically, there are more men at the top of the engineering industry, but that's inevitable, providing there are more men at the bottom. Initiatives like INWED will change this for the better and help more women see a career in engineering as a viable and rewarding option.
‘Women aren't supported by their employers’
Wrong. At Pailton Engineering, I am currently being sponsored to study for an engineering bachelor's degree at Coventry University. This is a part time course that requires me to attend classes two evenings a week. I will also be expected to carry out an industry focused dissertation, researching a specific area of engineering.
If Pailton Engineering wasn't invested in me, or didn't see a future with me as a key decision maker in the company, then this investment wouldn’t have been made.