The Culture of Engineering Jobs
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The Culture of Engineering Jobs

How Men Can Empower Women in the Workforce

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The Culture of Engineering Jobs
Photo by ThisIsEngineering from Pexels

The term engineering is quite broad, but from mathematics to physical science to computers, and much more, engineers are the motors behind evolution in all of these fields. The growth rate, overall, is steady and expected to continue at roughly 6% over the next decade, with certain focuses like software and web security expected to grow even faster.

One part of engineering that still has not evolved quickly, however, is women in these STEM fields. As engineering continues to be a male-dominated industry, it is up to those men to help encourage and empower women to get into the field, as a diverse workplace is a strong workplace.

Men Should First Take a Second to Understand The Engineering Gender Gap

In order to empower, one must first understand the demographics in the field, and particularly the glaring gender gap related to women in engineering. In 2019, only 15% of workers in architecture and engineering were women, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition to the drastic difference in quantity when counting men versus women in engineering fields, a salary gap almost as glaring exists, with women earning an average of $14,000 less in these fields than men.

Though the field has promises of growth and offers financial stability, to say women have a tougher path to success in these fields would be an understatement. Recognition comes first, then encouragement and action to be part of the change.

Stop the "It's either a Job or Family" Nonsense

It's almost 2021, and still, implicit biases regarding the patriarchy exist in every walk of American culture. The generational views of men being breadwinners and women having to choose between a career or a family are beyond outdated. Evolutions in education allow working parents to pursue degrees, and if you can pursue a degree while taking care of a child, you can certainly pursue success in a career related to that degree once you earn it.

One positive note related to the male dominance in engineering is the fact that women do pursue these degrees with almost as much frequency as men, but when 15% of the workforce is still male, that almost makes it seem worse, given that almost as many women are qualified. Continuing to encourage girls to pursue STEM degrees is great, but encouraging them that success can exist without having to sacrifice things like a family life or social life is just as important in ensuring that 15% continues to rise.

Help Younger Women By Advocating for Career & Skill Development

Though unfair, the harsh truth is that not ever man in that 85% is going to be an advocate for women in STEM fields, so making sure to walk the proverbial walk in front of the skeptics is also important. In addition to schooling, aspiring STEM workers should be sure to polish their professional skills for the modern workplace to avoid any reasons for the aforementioned skeptics to discredit them. From office lingo to cloud technology, there are a lot of intricacies unrelated to engineering that need to be mastered to avoid secondary excuses from C-suite executives living in the past. On a positive note, the number of female executives is STEM fields is proportionate to those numbers of total workers, so even though breaking into the field is more difficult for women, advancing seems to be a slightly more even playing field.

Nurture Growth with Stretch Goals

If you are a man in an engineering field with a little bit of power, use it to fix these discrepancies, as a diverse workforce is repeatedly proven to be a more successful one. It's also important to be transparent when discussing growth with your female colleagues, and sharing the blunt truths about disproportionate representation is the only way to gain the trust needed to head your words when you encourage these women to stay in engineering.

Be honest about the difficulties, but let them know that you are on their side. It is just as important to encourage female growth to your male colleagues, to ultimately be a part of the culture change that is so long overdue in this exciting and growing field.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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