“There’s no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish.”
It’s the 23rd of June, a day globally known as the International Women in Engineering Day. It is an awareness campaign to raise the profile of women in engineering and to focus attention on the amazing career opportunities available to them in this exciting field.
So let’s take a moment to highlight a few women engineers with a brief description:
- Elizabeth Bragg:
Elizabeth Bragg became the first woman to receive a bachelor’s degree in engineering. She earned her degree in civil engineering from the University of California at Berkeley.
- Kalpana Chawla:
Kalpana Chawla was an American astronaut, engineer and the first woman of Indian descent to go to space. She did her Bachelor of Engineering degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Punjab Engineering College, India.
- Minal Rohit:
- Raji Arasu:
She is an Indian-American internet technology engineer and product executive. She has been the Chief Technology Officer and Vice President of eBay subsidiary, StubHub, since 2011 where she was responsible for Product and Engineering functions.
The women above are a true inspiration and the thing we clearly learn from them is women are as good as men and that they can excel in every field provided the right opportunity and exposure.
In recent times, the number of women taking admissions to various engineering colleges and fields related to STEM has decreased considerably.
An insight into some facts and figures:
- In India, women make up only 14% of the 2.8 lac scientists, engineers, and technologists employed in various R&D institutions.
- Only 8% of ISRO’s scientific and technical staff comprises of women.
- Only 25% of women make up the scientific faculty in various institutes and universities.
- In 2017, only 10% of women applied to various engineering branches in IIT’s.
The above-mentioned facts are sufficient to establish that girls/women in India lag far behind men in the fields of STEM. The major reason behind such an imbalance is the male-chauvinistic society in India. The majority of the men and even most women believe that women are supposed to be restricted within the four walls of their homes.
Image Source: Google
The other reasons due to which girls drop out of school are early marriage, inability to pay the school fee, lack of proper learning in school, lack of interest, etc. Some percentage of the population that let women acquire education have strong preconceived notions that a particular subject is specific to a particular gender. Thus, most women in India are deprived of quality education in the first place and those who somehow manage to educate themselves are into fields far away from STEM.
All children are innately curious and thus gender cannot be a basis to interpret which gender is good in which field. Given the right exposure and environment, girls tend to perform as good as the boys and even better than them. This is clearly evident from the following examples:
- Maryam Mirzakhani was an Iranian mathematician who was honored in Popular Science’s fourth annual “Brilliant 10” in which she was acknowledged as one of the top ten young minds to have pushed their fields in innovative directions.
- Emmy Noether was a twentieth-century maths genius known for her groundbreaking work in abstract algebra and theoretical physics which led to concepts like Noether’s Theorem, Noetherian Rings, and Noetherian Induction.
- Marie Curie is one of the most famous scientists that ever lived. She is famous for her contributions such as the discovery of radium and other key elements that help us every day, especially when getting an X-Ray.
One distinct thing about Marie Curie is that she is the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two separate sciences.The above examples have made it evident that women have the equal potential of doing as good as men.
Some of the innovative ways to engage girls into STEM activities are listed below:
- Put emphasis on all the creative parts of engineering. If girls like craft, let them do it but alongside teach them how electronics and paper circuits can be integrated into the craft to make it even more pleasing.
- Stop feeding girls with the myth that boys are better at math. Practice can make a woman as perfect as it makes a man. Try to support and encourage women to achieve their goals by giving their ambitions and dreams priorities as considerately as given to a man’s.
- Try to find out their field of interest, help them explore the same and then integrate technology into it to make them realize what value technology can add to what they like.
- Help them to discover the power of visual-spatial skills. This is something that should be started as early as possible because it will not only boost their memory but will also enhance their cognitive abilities.
- Create an environment where they get motivated to experiment. Try to challenge them in ways that would help them explore most of the knowledge available. Make them aware of the problems that are being faced by various people around the globe, so as to seek their vision on solving these problems.
- Introduce them to women who are already doing wonders in the field of STEM. This will provide them with motivation and would also lead to blurring of the traditional preconceived notions promoting destructive messages such as boys are better than girls.
Summing up, to make girls excel in STEM, they just need to be provided with proper exposure, tools, and motivation. Girls need to be supported and need to be given opportunities so we all experience the wonders they can do. Try our DIY kit for Tinkering with Paper circuits Kit which combines Art, Design and Technology at it’s very best and makes learning electronics fun and engaging.
Women are already born with wings unlike men, they just need the right conditions to fly high and higher.