SWEet Wisdom for SWENexters

This year's theme for Women's History Month is "Working to Form a More Perfect Union." In what ways are you personally working to form a more perfect union between men and women in the engineering field? Even in our society today, some people still think that engineering is a better suited career for a male How do you change peoples' minds who might believe this?

Agnes Wozniak

When I started college a long time ago, female students amounted to maybe 10% of the engineering class, if that much. By the end of our freshman year, more than half of these young women had switched majors I felt very, very lonely... Much later, I realized that these same students probably just judged themselves much more harshly which, maybe, affected their self-esteem and made them give up too quickly. Girls need to be taught early on that it's OK to fail; it's what you do afterwards that matters.

Forming this "perfect union" needs to start in preschool when every girl should be given a play tool set If toddler girls could pretend to use screwdrivers and hammers and, later on, were given the time to use "real" tools on projects around the house, they might not be so apprehensive when the opportunity to join a robotics club arises The boys would then see just what valuable team members the girls could be.

I just don't think that engineering is necessarily better suited for guys but that our culture allows them to better prepare for its challenges.

Some people feel that engineering is not well suited for females because of work-life balance That's nonsense! Yes, it's easier to devote a lot of time to your career when no children rely on you, but you can have a satisfying career and a family; it requires a support system, organization, and stamina. It's not any different than any other demanding field.

Engineering is not about nerds walking around with a pocket protector and a calculator hanging from their belts. Engineering is about problem-solving, building awesome machines, and making the world better through technology Given the right opportunities and encouragement early in life, females and males can do it equally well!