Did you know that Marissa Mayer is the first female engineer of Google? Yes, you heard it right. A woman appointed as President and CEO of Yahoo, Inc. and she is an engineer. In Malaysia, the National Education Policy gives women the opportunity to break into the field of engineering which was once a profession reserved for men. In this open education policy, merit takes precedence over gender. Thus, if you are a woman of the 21st century who dreams of becoming an engineer, rest assured: there are many engineering jobs in Malaysia.
But what exactly are the challenges and opportunities for a woman to succeed in this field? Let us take a preview of some of the most common.
The Major Hurdles
- Engineering is a mentally challenging and physically taxing profession
The notion that women are good only in a non-technical profession is slowly eroding. Career-minded females can make a go at it if they can strike a balance between the personal and professional life. If you are a female engineer, you are expected to perform your social obligation to the family as a wife and mother.
- Women are subjected to gender discrimination in the workplace
The ratio of women-to-men is very low and is not likely to be overturned in the immediate future. If you are a woman planning to take up engineering, be prepared to be at the receiving end of gender discrimination. Males in college tend to be insecure in the presence of female classmates and more so in the workplace. Both male bosses and co-workers are threatened by their female counterparts.
- The difficulty to gain the respect
The younger generation looks beyond gender and pays more attention on the work that you do. Inversely, the older generation is more egotistical. It is a sort of defense mechanism to conceal they are threatened by female engineers in the workplace. You just have to stay the course and prove to the young and old alike that you can perform as well, if not better, if given the chance.
The Promising Opportunities
* An engineer is a marketable profession in the corporate world and business segments. If you have earned a Degree in Bachelor of Science in Engineering, then you must have gone through a tough course. You are equipped to handle technical or industrial work as well as perform in non-technical zones like financial planning and management.
* A talented engineer is highly sought after in the global arena. If you are a multi-faceted engineer, you deserve to earn the big bucks. Female engineers are foreseen to take center stage in the field of engineering as the pillars of the industry in the not-so-distant future.
* There are a host of multi-disciplinary areas of engineering you can choose to work in: Civil, Electrical, Industrial Management, Chemical, Electronics and Communications, and lastly Biomedical. There are many related disciplines as well, such as genetic engineering, biotechnology, information technology and nanotechnology.
On a lighter note and without shadowing their male counterparts, female engineers are better in handling stress and strain in a relationship. Even though there are many challenges thrown in the way of female engineers, it doesn’t mean that the situation will stay like this forever. As Little Annie sang in that famous Broadway musical, “The sun will come out tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there’ll be sun.” As long as women work hard and prove that they’re as competent as their male coworkers, they can and will change the world.