I was mindlessly scrolling through my friends’ tweets when I read a tweet from someone about how she was recently asked if there really are women who study engineering. Being a female engineer myself, I felt the shock and disgust she must have felt when asked such a question. It may have come from someone who was genuinely interested to know if being a woman practicing in the engineering field was still a mythical creature or it may have been asked in disbelief, with a difficulty to accept that women are no longer limited to a career in cleaning and folding clothes.
From what I gathered in her series of tweets, the person who asked her was someone older in her family. Probably her uncle. Her tweets somehow reminded me all those times when people find it a s surprise that I chose a career in engineering. All those times I was easily discouraged by people that because I liked to dress up and wear makeup would work as a disadvantage for me. I have often been asked if I really was going to work in construction sites while exposed to the unforgiving sun and polluted areas.
Source: Pantai Education
I often get asked, “How many women are there in your class? Were you the only girl back then? Did all the guys hit on you because you’re the only girl they saw in college? Wow, you must have been a sight for the sore eye.” While I know that times were different back then – that engineering wasn’t a popular choice for women back then, I find it disappointing that after all these years of women fighting for equality in different aspects of our lives, some people still see us as just pretty faces and fragile beings that could not survive the challenges engineering presents.
To answer said questions:
No, I wasn’t the only girl in class.There were around 15 girls in our class of 30. As for getting hit on, I wasn’t interested to flirt with the guys in class because I wanted to focus on my studies first. So naturally, I am not interested to be someone’s sight for the sore eye. I honestly don’t think women should be just “that” in engineering. We are more than a pretty sigh to see.
Despite the disbelief among older people that girls can be engineers, I know a lot of us still do our best to become the best engineers in our fields. We enjoy the challenges and the problems we face that come along with the profession. We even prefer being exposed to the dirt, the heat and the long hours of work. And heck, we still look good!
So here’s to the girls who get asked if women can be engineers, tell them “Why ask such a question when you’re already looking at one?” Let’s all do our part in educating everyone what women are capable of.