There are a lot of questions that need to be answered first.
1. Do you intend to stay in Malaysia for the foreseeable future? What are the opportunities and how are they different than in Europe or the US?
2. How far do you intend to take your education? Masters? PhD?
3. What specifically in mechanical engineering makes you passionate? Heat and energy? machines?
4. What factory setting are your friends referring to when they say that women won't be accepted? (factory settings are a minor part of the HVAC or building mechanical systems business.)
Mechanical systems of buildings is a wonderful field. It encompasses all things mechanical---and requires a substantial understanding of heat transfer, thermodynamics, electrical, chemical, environmental, materials, and above all, an understanding of how buildings are put together. When I first decided to enter it, it was in its infancy. It had a future and it was exciting. That may have passed and the leadership may have been passed back to its original leaders; contractors and architects. The engineering is being done in national labs and on college campuses, and to a large extent within major manufacturers.
It's an industry that is old (architecture goes back at least 2500 years---and its heating and cooling along with it.) Old industries are never a friendly place for women engineers because one needs to be scarce and in demand to get the opportunities. The corporate structures are old and will demonstrate opportunities for women in business and law, before they will engineering
Your experience as an intern----and after---will give you good foundations for the building industry and similar industries. Just make sure that you learn worthwhile skills and technical understanding while you are there. If not-----don't stay there. Additionally, don't stay too long in any branch of a profession that gives you little excitement. What happens is that you get associated with that work and can't break into anything else. The mechanical systems of buildings can be mastered---with the right experience---in about 10-12 years. Your career will be at least 40 years. ( I just celebrated my 50th year). You need to think about going into management----but you will find that architects have an edge because of their relative importance on the building team. They will typically be in charge on the team.
Whatever you decide, pursue something that is fun, exciting, and new. Something that suits your age group as far as a future is concerned. Just remember, it's not a JOB, it's a LIFEs WORK.
Please feel free to contact me further with more questions. I'm delighted with your acquaintance.
Eileen Duignan-Woods, P.E.
Always leave a company on very good terms. You will cross paths in the future.