Hello, I'm currently in my final year of high ...

Hello, I'm currently in my final year of high school and am thinking of choosing to do engineering in Uni. The problem is my mum is really against engineering because she believes it to be a male orientated job where people work in factories or construction sites? I was wondering if there were more office type jobs in engineering and if it is a suitable job for girls. Also, do you have any advice on how to get my mum to support me in choosing to do engineering? Thanks.
posted by Anna, Melbourne on January 16, 2013

Answer 1 by Erica Weems

Hi Anna, I can understand your mother's concern. However, after 4 years of college in a male dominated major I think you'll be more than used to working with the fellas and holding your own. :-) More times than not I was assigned to groups and labs in college where I was the only female. So you get used to it. Then you realize you know just as much as they do if not more sometimes. ;-) I think any job can be suitable for a girl if that's the job you truly want to do. But I can only speak from my own personal experience. My degree is in Computer Engineering which basically combines Computer Science with Electrical Engineering. I initially was just going to major in Computer Science until a female engineering adviser convinced me otherwise. I'm glad she did. There were usually two or three girls in my engineering courses, but sometimes I was the only girl in the whole class. Currently, I am the only woman engineer on my team at my company. For me this is an afterthought, because my male counterparts respect me and the skill set I bring to the company. I don't know your interests but I think day to day activities can vary depending on your career choice, job responsibilities, and the type of company you may work for. For me, one day I can be writing a software application in my office, the next day in the lab developing a fixture, the next day on the manufacturing floor troubleshooting a complex system, or the next day traveling to our research and development facility to learn about a new product. I like it that way. I wouldn't want to just sit in my office all the time. I feel that if you are confident, assertive, and know your stuff there is no reason to feel intimidated in male dominated environment. We need more girls in engineering. Hope this helps. :-)

Answer 2 by Khadijah Latiff

Hi Anna, There are many different kinds of engineers and while it is a male dominant industry, there is a lot of opportunity and challenges for women. When I was your age, I wanted to become a civil/environmental engineer, and somebody told me the same thing: That it is a man's world and nobody would hire women in Civil engineering because there is a lot of field and construction work. Fast forward to this day, I chose to study Electrical Engineering, and I find myself working at a Civil/Environmental engineering firm designing their power systems!!! Sometimes I have to do field work and visit construction sites and I don't mind getting dirty, but 90% of the time I work from an office. Actually there are more female civil engineers than electrical or computer engineers. Explore what you like, and there are many types of engineering. Like Erica said, as long as you know your stuff and confident, you don't have to feel intimidated. :)