Do women in the predominantly male Engineering field face challenges of being heard and/or taken seriously in the professional workplace?
I am a female engineering student and I often find myself being isolated in the classroom setting by the overwhelming majority of male students. I feel as if some of my ideas and contributions are not heard or simply looked over due to being female in a "male oriented" career. I am curious to know if in a professional career setting women continue to face these challenges.
First off, you are definitely NOT alone in this! There are entire organizations and programs dedicated to fixing this issue (see if your school has any "Women in Engineering" type programs, because they are probably the best ones to ask for advice).
In my own experience as a past engineering student, this was sometimes an issue in my classes and I would hear stories from female friends at internships as well. What helps is that as I grew older, I became more knowledgeable and therefore more confident and assertive in my ideas. I truly believe that time and experience will help with you as well.
Something that can also help is that when you are job searching, keep an eye out for how many women work at the company and how many women hold leadership positions there. It may help you feel less alone and give you a mentor for situations like this.
I'd also recommend reading the link below as well since it provides some really helpful advice on what to do:
Lillian recommends the following next steps:
Hi Sydney, thank you for your question. This is a real big one and there is no right or wrong answer. I studied chemistry and have faced the very same feelings back then. Now I am working in IT which is again a mainly male driven profession. The only advice I can give you is to continue to speak out loud what you think and make yourself heard. If you continue your career in engineering you will continue to face this environment. BUT nothing will change if you do not try to make a change. Things have already improved and will improve further over course of time but only if we all work on it and continue to make ourselves heard. I hope this is of any help to you. All the best and keep your courage! Setia