What do women bring to engineering?

Hi,
I'm an undergraduate Electrical Engineering student. I'm deciding whether or not Engineering is "for me" and if I should pursue a career in Engineering (statistically speaking, like half of all female graduates).

I think the work environment deters some of us from engineering careers. What do you think women bring to the table in Engineering? Have you actually experienced sexism/doubt from your male colleagues at work?

Thanks!
posted by Victoria , Sheffield, England on December 1, 2013

Answer by Ms Jenn Dandrea

I have been in the professional field with my BSME for 9 years now. I don't even notice that I'm 10% of the workforce in engineering. On top of that, I work with mechanics, whom are like 95% male. Again, rarely even take note. 

There is nothing I've noticed in the 3 companies I've worked for, and the several jobs I've had in my current company that would deter me from my job. By 'stepping back' you would only give the next female in line the same excuse. But if you step forward and take the challenge and overcome it, we increase the % and then next girl in line wont feel this way.

A diverse work environment is critical. And I'm not just talking men/women. Also includes people of different backgrounds. With diverse people, you have diverse thought. And that's what you need to make a team successful.

You should go into a career because you have passion for it and you want to do it, not because there's 'people like you' in the field. I love being an engineer. There are so many different jobs I can do, because I have an Engineering Degree. It doesn't even matter the field! I've worked on building, heart implants, flight tested airplanes, designed airplanes, and now help fix airplanes with a mechanical engineering degree. 

With regards to me, as a female engineer you do fight a little hard to almost prove yourself, because there's that stereotype. You know what that means? It means you're a fighter. That you're not willing to give up and roll over. You have to team better with other to show that you're capable. As a girl, the chances are your more social than your male engineer counterpart. How's that affect my job? I work well with others. I am driven to success and get the job done. I got harassed more for being 'young' when I started than for being a girl. In this field, it's experience that trumps everything else. And sometimes... being the girl works in your benefit around a bunch of guys. It must have something to do with chivalry :) Go read 'Lean In' or 'Nice girls don't get the corner office' and pave a path to be a positive role model for future engineering female. It's not a bad profession, Don't Quit!