Being a woman in engineering offers you some wonderful opportunities; however, with those opportunities come many hardships. In 2014, 19.8 percent of engineering Bachelor’s degrees were awarded to women. As a woman in engineering, I can attest that this makes things incredibly difficult. With so little representation of women, there are many gender stereotypes held by many of my male peers that affect our interactions. I have to constantly prove myself and I have to decide when to pick my battles with my sexist peers and professors, who are also mostly male (surprise).
But as a female engineer, here are some faces that I think my female peers will immediately recognize:
1. When you’re assigned to be the secretary for a group project… again.
Seriously, let me use the drill.
2. When you walk into class on the first day of the semester and you only see two other women in the room.
You know you're all in it together.
3. When you hear men complaining about how much easier women have it.
This actually applies to almost any situation.
4. When you can’t find restrooms in an engineering building only to realize they don’t exist on every floor, or sometimes they don’t exist at all.
And it takes a lot of time traveling back and forth from the bathroom, which can result in more missed lectures and labs, etc...
5. When you become really good friends with the other women in your classes.
Who knew friendship could come from suffering?
6. When you have to do well in all of your classes to prove that women can actually be successful in engineering.
7. When your professors act surprised that you actually do well in their classes because you’re a woman.
I've had a professor be genuinely shocked I was doing so well in his class.
8. When everything becomes a competition and you can’t enjoy your classes.
It feels like high school PE all over again.
9. When you correctly answer a question or make an intelligent comment and your male classmate repeats the answer or comment as if he’s more correct.
I guess mockery is a form of flattery?
10. When you get mansplained to about any engineering concept.
Yeah, we all learned the same material, thanks.
So the next time you meet a female engineer, understand that she might have had a tough day.