As a woman, why did you decide not to pursue engineering?
I was an Honors Civil Engineering student first and completed what amounted to 3 years in that program (I entered college with 30 semester credit hours via AP testing). I was good at math and was an arts and crafts kind of girl. It made sense.
I honestly didn't find it to be a passionate career (for me...) and, somewhere in my college experience, realized that many students' pre-college schooling experience was not as diverse and enriching as the one I had. That seemed unfair to me. I switched over to Early Childhood Education, Bilingual. I've taught secondary mathematics and Middle Level "STEM" - or pre-engineering concepts designed to introduce students to problem-solving as well as some basic industry tools, like SolidWorks. I am now an administrator at a K-8 STEM Academy that serves a high-poverty community, rather than solely gifted students.
So, ultimately, even though I left the STEM field, I work to promote it and excite others about it in my everyday job. I love what I do and was able to find a way to sort-of do both.
STEM jobs are wonderful. They make good money and there is very clear job growth in those areas. We need women in those jobs as well; and we need to promote the idea that women can do these jobs - they are not just for boys and it isn't a boyish field or whatever nonsense. But, you need to do something that you are passionate about, something that excites you. It's about finding your own niche.
I don't think my decision was based on gender, but rather based on skill and interest. When I began college, I was struck by the rigor of the program and minimal flexibility of courses you could choose. I was strong in math, but wanted to explore other fields. I ended up with a n accounting degree and have had great opportunities in business operations and internal audit.
Follow your passion - we work a long time and it's more fulfilling to choose something enjoyable rather than not. If you love engineering, go for it!