Last Friday, upon tinkering with my electronics circuit during lab with my partner, I scanned the class(frustrated that our circuit couldn’t seem to cooperate and show any waveforms) when I suddenly came to the realization that I was the only female among a class of a little more than 20 students. Of course by now, you would have guessed that my lab partner was a male.
Now based on this and if you’re observant enough, you might notice that women engineers are rather scarce. Now why the phenomena and what causes it? And for crying out loud, “Where the heyyyyy are all the women!?”
Despite the fact that women in Malaysia account to about 60% of university graduates, they are known to have a higher preference in dominating the non-technical and non-vocational disciplines, arts and applied arts. And even though they do graduate in the science and technology field, how many actually practice it? Definitely a lesser percentage. It is indeed undeniable that there remain barriers for women in this field. Some of the reasons for this attribution of women graduates switching to non-science majors are; stereotypical views on the ‘masculinity’ of this field and not being able to fully commit to the demanding and time consuming job of an engineer with juggling marriage and children.
An article I read recently insisted that girls between ages 9 and 11 should be given the chance to play with trucks, creative toys and meddle around with building blocks. A stepping stone in helping them generate an interest in Math and Science so that they would actually consider going after engineering in the future.
What baffles me is the fact that the girls I graduated high school with, some of which had achieved excellent results in their science subjects(me excluded) decided to opt for entrepreneurial or management courses when their brains could obviously be put to good use in fields such as engineering or computer. Sure, you could debate about interest and passion being the reason to this but if you are able to reach sky high, why settle for something everyone else is pursuing? I’m not saying that the above courses aren’t worthy of a proper education but think about it intellectual people. But then of course, practicing what you learn is a whole different story.
… And just as I was leaving the lab, tucked in a corner I missed, hidden by a bigger guy, was a petite girl, furiously finishing up her lab report.
Philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways, but the real task is to alter it. — Karl Marx, Eleven Theses on Feuerbach