What is life like for a woman in civil engineering?

Hi! :)
I am about to go to college this year, and I am about to take up civil engineering. It has been a long time dream for me to become one. I am really enjoying buildings being constructed, and I definitely love houses, especially their interiors, but lately I became unsure of my course. People are telling me that civil engineers would have to work in fields and because I am a girl I would have the hard time finding a job. I am really confused right now.
I really want to be like you ma'am. I was really inspired by your story, but right now I am just confused and unsure.
posted by Gena on April 3, 2013

Answer by Dr. Patricia D Galloway PE

Gina, first, I apologize for the late reply to your question. My husband and best friend passed away from a 3-year long battle with cancer just recently and now trying to get life back to normal, which is exactly what he wanted me to do! Second, dispel any thought that women in the field are either not respected, or that it is difficult to become a woman civil engineer working in the field. simply not true!!! Large contractors these days are actively seeking young women engineers whom they can employ, teach, and move into their management positions. It is not just about gender diversity, but the fact that women offer and contribute to the team from different perspectives, thus making the team stronger and better posed to completing the project on time and on budget. Owners, too, are employing more and more women engineers and those designing and constructing projects are also actively involving their women engineers in the field. I have been in the construction industry for 32 years and LOVE IT!! I would highly encourage you to do the same. You might also consider getting a specialty in construction management or a masters degree in construction management, You should also become actively involved in professional organizations like ASCE and become a member of the Construction Institute, or Project Management Institute, getting certified as a Project Management Professional. There are so many opportunities out there for you. But be sure to always learn. Continuing education and certification is very important to your career and you want to continue to do this as well as volunteer for leadership positions within your local professional societies. I wish you the best of luck!