I'm an Asian-American women pursuing a career in civil engineering, and I have fears that I will be discriminated against and have great opposition in this industry. I've read many women in the engineering industry are not taken seriously, promotions are hard to come by and obviously do not get fair wages but I assume that's in most professional environments where men dominate and are regarded as superior). Do you have any advice that will help put my mind at ease?
by Racine, Ft Lauderdale
on May 23, 2014
Hi Racine - So the answer is yes and no. I am a women in civil engineer and really like my current job, my boss is helping me set ambitious goals and making sure I have to the resource to meet those goals. It 100% possible to find a job where you are respected and treated fairly. However, it is sadly not a given. You might end up in a job with a boss who is a jerk.
If civil engineer is where you want to be, go do it. There have been so many women before us blazing a great trail, and we now have unlimited possibilities. If you find yourself in a situation where you are being discriminated against find an ally and speak up. Most companies now understand that diversity makes them stronger, and they are actively working to be diverse.
I also recommend reading this article from the Atlantic: http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/04/the-confidence-gap/359815/
It talks about how women are not promoted as fast because of a confidence gap.
In short, do not let the fear of men stepping on you stop you from what you want to do. Instead stand up and go do it.