Is civil engineering okay for women in India?

Hi...I'll be going college this year and I wanna take civil engineering. I've always been fascinated with buildings and designing and the science behind it. I saw my dad doing it and wanted to do it. But lately people are really scaring me. I'm an average student so I'm average in maths and physics. And I'm a girl so everyone is like, "you won't be able to handle the pressure and it'll be field job. You'll lose your fair skin. No one will marry you," kinda crap. In India its a big thing...girls here are kinda known for their beauty and stuff. So I'm really confused...should I leave my dream to build something bigger and better? What should I do??? Please help me!!!! If yes then what should I choose???

Thank you
posted by Sakshi, India on June 3, 2013

Answer by Suniti Bidikar

The first and the foremost thing is do away with the notion that in India girls are known for their fair skin and beauty. If you have this notion or someone has impressed this on you then first you need to get out of this if you want to opt for a career in engineering.

Secondly, one also has to decide the personal priorities and value system -- is your aim in life marriage or something higher than that? Do you want to get satisfaction of having achieved something on your own merit or for being known as someone's better half? So once this is clear then other mundane issues do not arise. I have worked in industry for almost 35 years now and had assignments even on shop floor. Those days it was tough to establish in a male dominated field but with grit and determination I could overcome even difficult obstacles. Things have changed so much now, and a lady engineer is very well-accepted in India and China and elsewhere. I have done many assignments abroad too.

Civil engineering is not as tough as chemical or mechanical. In my last company, which was an engineering consulting company, the max number of girls were in the civil department.

You can do some research yourself with the help of the Institution of Engineers where in they have a lady engineers wing also. And lastly, on a lighter note, I and my few engineer friends haven't lost our fair skin or other external attributes by opting for engineering as a career - but one has to be good in maths and physics - there is no short cut there. You could also opt for architecture where the maths/physics component is minimal.