With the field of biomedical engineering, are there any problems being a girl?
I heard that in most STEM fields, being a girl means you earn less, there are less opportunities, not as many companies believe girls are capable, girls are of less value. I wanted more information if this was a myth or if it was true and how it might be a bad decision to go into this field.
Opportunities are continually improving for women in this field. Ask a female biomedical engineer to be a mentor for you. You will be supported.
I’m a biomedical female engineer working in the service field since 8 years.
Normally the hospitals are distributed into departments, for example you can handle Radiology,Anesthesia machines,General OR,Delivery Room,PICU,ICU,,,,
you can work in all these departments and more nothing can stop you.
For example the CSSD “Central sterile Services Department “has a very huge machines with a very dangerous doors ,in such department they put men to perform the services .
Also in the companies with a few branches they prefer men because of travel hours from site to site.On those companies men earning more.
In the hospitals it depends on the experience and skills.
Fantastic question! I wish the answer was as clear. Biomedical engineering is an excellent field to go into where problems like you’re describing are minimal. I’ve found that work environments in STEM and other disciplines that are composed mostly of professional men and women have these problems least often. Environments where engineers and other professionals work with skilled and unskilled labor in construction and manufacturing, for example, are where I’ve found that these problems occur more often. I am 62 and a male mechanical engineer and that’s been my experience. I also have a daughter with a Masters in civil engineering, and she gets these problems more often when her construction management Project Engineer responsibilities take her out to the worksite.
This “myth” that women are considered less capable in the workplace and therefore have fewer opportunities and lower salaries may have been true 100 years ago as educated and highly qualified women began entering the workforce in what had been male-dominated professions, but since the civil rights and women’s rights movements beginning in the 1960s really started opening the eyes of male-dominated companies to the innate capabilities of women in skilled labor, professions, business, government, and senior management, major industries and many companies have learned to their chagrin that many women are highly capable and in general are able to do in difficult, complex, and stressful jobs as well as and sometimes better than many men. Some of these male-dominated companies have also learned the pain of sex-based discrimination lawsuits if they don’t play by the rules.
We will still hear about real lawsuits and threats of lawsuits for some time yet, but they are already the exception and not the rule. In fact, for the last 20 years or so as a consequence of government attempts to legislate morality there have been discrimination lawsuits brought by groups of men who claim to have been discriminated against when a job was given to a woman over a man just so the company will improve their percentage of women in management. But short of lawsuits, there are still many men out there who simply cannot keep their mouths shut, and out comes an attempt at male humor which is disrespectful at best. I was surprised when my daughter told me that this happened frequently to her, but again that was primarily when she went out to a construction site.
Equal pay for equal work is on your list but I wanted to discuss this separately because there is another factor at work here: the use (or misuse) of statistical information. It is regularly reported that women in general make less than men for the same work, and that difference seems to vary between 2% and 20% depending on the study. Studies started with a straight 40-hour week (which women use less than men) and corrected for industry, type of work, race, age, maternity and paternity leave, and on and on. Some studies get the wage gap pretty low but then others disagree with their assumptions – I don’t see this getting resolved anytime soon. So, when you see study results like this, make sure you ask about the source and assumptions used.
In summary, I believe you will see no discrimination against you for becoming a woman biomedical engineer. In fact, I believe you will see the opposite – companies falling over themselves to get you to accept a job with them. If this career is what you want to do, then you will have no trouble getting good job offers and being respected for your knowledge and capabilities.
In general, there are fewer women studying and working in the fields of engineering. Compared to other engineering disciplines, however, female representation in biomedical engineering is higher. When I studied biomedical engineering years ago, it was about 40:60 (women:men). I believe in recent years it is closer to 50:50. In my experience, if you're passionate and are qualified to work in the field of biomedical engineering, companies will consider and provide opportunities to females.
I have worked in this field 28 yrs now and I,ll agree that when I started it was a mans world, but primarily because women entered other areas of healthcare. But since then I’ve watched women grow in this field and currently knows 2 women running their own departments supervising 4-6 men. Men who have just as much experience, but maybe were not assertive enough or didn’t further the degree end of it, not sure but increasingly in this world the minority’s are getting opportunities.
hope this helps
This is a valid thing to be concerned about and I am glad you asked the question. There have been a few times that I have heard comments about being female within the STEM field, but these often relate to simply being the only female in a group or in a class. I have not found this to be a limiting factor, rather an empowering one!
This a great question. It is true that way back women didn’t join STEM majors as much as men. However, things have changed . According to the US department of education, 54% increase in bachelor’s degrees awarded in engineering and computer science to women from 2011(23,606) to 2016(36,453) . As a female Biomedical engineer, who works for a company led by a woman CEO and our lead engineer is a young woman ; I want to assure you that you should not have difficulties landing an engineering position just because of your gender. Several females engineers are running their own departments and even companies. So, if you are passionate about a specific field in STEM, I would high recommend to pursue it. Once the person is truly passionate about their field of study, then for sure they will succeed in their career.
Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns.