Thank you to SWE Member Christina Liu for providing this recap of SWE’s event “Surviving and Thriving as a Woman Engineer: Advocating for Yourself and Others.”
The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) hosted a truly inspirational women-in-engineering event, “Surviving and Thriving as a Woman Engineer: Advocating for Yourself and Others,” on Saturday, November 23, 2019 at Vantage Venues in Toronto, Canada. The keynote speaker was Gail Golden, whose presentation was followed by a panel discussion featuring various industry professionals.
The female contribution is different than the male contribution; this difference should be embraced instead of shamed. For example, the meticulous attention to detail was apparent at this event: organized sign in, prepared materials, healthy snacks and lunch (even green smoothies!). The differences between male and female cognitive processes is especially evident in the male-dominated field of engineering.
The main discussion topics that were covered during this event included common difficult situations for women, stereotypes and unconscious biases, the value of mentorship and the strategy of managing energy instead of managing time. This workshop was pretty eye-opening to the various issues that women still face in this male-dominated field.
I walked away from this event with some new perspectives and a network of support and encouragement. Here are some helpful tips that I learned on how to promote powerful gestures:
- Have a positive perspective of your own abilities
- Practice emotional composure and respond calmly
- Don’t verbalize statements as questions
- Surround yourself with people who empower and inspire you
- Keep your head the same height as everyone else (raise your seat at the meeting table, even if your feet dangle!)
References made during the presentation:
- Engineers Canada 30 by 30 Initiative (Goal: 30% female engineers by 2030)
- “What Most People Get Wrong About Men and Women” (HBR Article – 10 min read)
- The Power of Full Engagement (Book by Loehr and Schwartz)
- Curating your Life (Book by Gail Golden – April 2020 Publication)
- “IF” by Rudyard Kipling (Poem that embodies what it takes to become a man leader)
- “Breaking Through Bias: Overcoming Gendered Meeting Dynamics” (Article – 4 min read)
- Amy Cuddy – Ted Talk about Body Language (Video – 20 min)
- It’s Not You, It’s the Workplace: Women’s Conflict at Work and the Bias that Built it (Book by Andrea Kramer)
About the Author:
Christina Liu, EIT, is a civil engineering graduate from the Western University currently working as an engineer-in-training at the City of London.