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Where Are the Women in Mechanical Engineering?

Why are there so few women in the field of mechanical engineering?


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Women in Mechanical Engineering

 

Traditional belief has it that engineering is exclusive only for men. Engineers are men by default according to popular belief and rarely does one bother about thinking of a woman when engineer is the topic.

That has been the case in history. But it doesn’t mean that engineers will have to be all men.

We are now in the 21st century and the fourth industrial revolution, and there are still few women in engineering – and fewer women in mechanical engineering.

Why is that?

Mechanical engineers is defined as that discipline in engineering that deals with industrial applications of mechanics and with the production of tools, industrial machinery, and their products.

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It does sound like it’s a man’s world, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Students who are not in mechanical engineering were asked about their opinion about the course, and why they did not take that career path.

The answers were, in a way, expected; but it was only until it was said by women themselves that indeed the low percentage of women in mechanical engineering is alarming.

Here’s what they said.

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“I don’t want to handle machinery and get lubricants and grease all over me.”

“I don’t want to deal with the workforce, which is mainly men in their forties who will either hassle me or undermine me.”

“It’s a man’s job, it doesn’t come naturally to women.”

“It’s difficult, and I don’t want that much hassle and long hours for so little pay.”

“I don’t to work in an exclusively male environment.”

“I don’t see any females in this field anyway, let alone holding key positions or taking key decision or making key breakthroughs.”


These responses got me like… WHAT? This is BS!

The responses are centered on a wrong belief. A magnitude of stereo type and a sexist remarks which is terribly offending.

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Women perceive mechanical engineering as a field of engineering that they cannot do, which is not true at all, so they settle with related courses.

Moreover, men were also asked in a certain workplace why they think there are so few women in mechanical engineering.

They say, almost collectively, that “it’s always been like this and “it’s technically challenging and women aren’t interested because they feel they don’t have natural aptitude.”

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While a part of that is true, there’s a thinking going around men in the field that needs to be changed.

Men have to be more welcoming with women in mechanical engineering as to let the women enter or stay.

I guess all it takes is one brave, popular woman who will disprove all the women biases in mechanical engineering for that status quo to change.

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Engr. Tam Van Loan
Technical Recruiting Manager at Vietnam Airlines. I am a mechanical engineering graduate from University of Engineering and Technology, VNU. Likes travelling, blogging and building mechanical lego stuff, Yikes! Follow me on facebook.com/tam.vanloan

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