If someone asks us to list famous engineers or inventors that have contributed a lot into technology and engineering development, thefirst people that will cross my mind are the names of Nikola Tesla, Henry Ford, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs etc. But if we are asked to mention a female inventor or engineer our list is short and probably empty.
Nowadays the question about the low percentage of women in engineering and technology is open and the public is more informed about the importance of the gender equality in this fields. There are a lot of relevant arguments that can really describe and justify the need of balance between male and female labor in technology and engineering. First and the most important, is the decline in the level of sexual harassment and discomfort when there are more women present.
Second, there would be less stereotypes and discrimination about women pursuing career in tech or engineering industries. This is more often an issue that stops and reduces the chances for women to make big steps and work on significant projects due to the fact that their male colleagues think that they are less able to think and solve engineering and software problems.
Women employed as engineers usually do not have the same salary as men. This problem is classified into the struggle for socioeconomic inequality based on gender. Also the opportunities for employment for women are lower because employers informally consider the fact thatby hiring a woman, they would be legally obligedto pay maternity leave in the later periodthus, the chances of the candidate gettingthe job at the very beginning is reduced.
Bringing more women in this profession will encourage girls to pursue their own interests and therefore enable greater equality. Just take an example of a 17-year old boy and 17-year-old girl with equal capabilities and interests for engineering career. With the status quo that we have today, the boy will be supported and encouraged to go to a technical faculty, but the girl will be surrounded by images that tell her "this is not a field for you, it's hard and exhausting" or even worse people around would just say "that is not something that a girl should study or work later." That is a lack of equal access, although a more suitable form than just outright discrimination. Having more women in engineering would mean more female leaders and more people able to do what they want.
Diversity, or giving women engineersthe same opportunity as men, leads to better products and results. For example, you have a group that is interested in completing their goals and they possess different brain-storm abilities. Furthermore, they have different level of creativity and knowledge andlast but not the least important, is that they do not waste time to think how their female/male colleague will complete the task because they are focused in doing their best to complete the job. Diversity of teams produces better products, fewer failures, higher returns and better bottom lines for the company or the industry, and breaks the social borders based on profession for men and women.
Margaret Hamilton, the leading software engineer in NASA's project Apollo,is known as the woman who prevented an abort of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. Lilian Gilbreth contributed to industrial engineering by studying workplace patterns and ergonomics, on her work lies the formation of ergonomic factor into the design. Grace Murray Hooper or the inventor of the first compiler for a computer programming language also known as "Amazing Grace".Hedy Lammar, that might be recalled as a sexy movie star from the 1930s and the 1940s, but a few know that she invented a remote-controlled communication system for the U.S. military that now serves as a basis for modern communication technology, such as Blootooth and WiFi network.
These are some examples from the history that break the myth that women can't be successful as engineers.
Today we have Marrisa Mayer, Google's first female engineer, today current president and CEO(chief executive officer) of Yahoo. Then Linda Cureton, CIO for NASA, working on technology development and experiments realization in outer space, and a lot of different women involved in industry and technologyas engineers.
They are a great example and motivation for a new generation of women who want to be part of the engineering process, because they show that gender issues should not be stronger than our dreams to become what we want. Considering the fact that tradition, religion and similar social beliefs can influencea lot regarding girls’ education, we should promote positive values by having female engineers and overcome the prejudice thatengineering is no place for women.