Last Updated on April 27, 2022 by Anne-Sophie Reinhardt
Where is the ponytail hole in my hard hat?
The fact is most things people design are for men. For example, in a famous scene of the 1980’s movie “Private Benjamin,” we see a long line of soldiers, tall and intimidating, standing stiffly to attention. Then suddenly the camera drops from their heads to their shoulders, and we see poor old Goldie Hawn wedged between two bulky men, wearing an army hat that almost covers her “pretty little head.”
The movie was a comedy. Therefore, women in the military were gently laughable.
Speaking of male design – only recently did women get a female crash test dummy to measure the effect of trauma on the female body. Therefore, this was dangerous and negligent for women’s safety. Car manufacturers only factored in the male body when making cars safe to drive.
Perhaps they should have employed a female engineer in-car safety protocols sooner?
How do we conquer sexism in the engineering fields? Firstly, let’s look at the various types of engineering and their associated industries:
Types of Engineering Careers for Women (and Men!)
- Mechanical Engineers: automotive, aerospace, biotechnology, computer, electronics, microelectromechanical, energy conversion robotics, and manufacturing industries
- Chemical Engineers turn raw materials into useful everyday products.
- Civil Engineers conceive and construct infrastructure projects and systems in the public and private sectors. For example, roads, buildings, tunnels, bridges, dams, airports, water supply, and sewage treatment systems.
- Electrical Engineers design, develop, test, and also manage electrical equipment.
- Management Engineers use industrial engineering knowledge to implement efficient and cost-effective business processes in all departments of an organization.
- Geotechnical Engineers investigate and evaluate rock, groundwater, and artificial materials and their interaction with earth retention systems for construction sites, structure foundations, and other civil engineering works.
The detailed list of engineering careers is endless. However, here are some work titles you may have attached to your name after studying engineering.
- Aerospace Engineer
- Agricultural Engineer
- Automotive Engineer
- Biomedical Engineer
- Chemical Engineer
- Civil Engineer
- Computer Engineer
- Data Engineer
- Drafting and Design Engineer
- Electrical Engineer
- Environmental Engineer
- Geological Engineer
- Marine Engineer
- Mechanical Engineer
- Petroleum Engineer
- Software Engineer
What do Female Engineers Earn?
$79 000 p.a as a starting salary up to $193 000 dollars for experienced engineers! (BLS Bureau of Labour Statistics) That is a pretty “woohoo” amount keeping in mind that the minimum wage in the US is a mere $7.25 an hour.
Let’s also look at some facts about female vs. male engineers:
- Women in engineering represent only 12% of the workforce than men.
- There is also a higher drop-out rate of qualified females in the profession.
- 1% of UK engineering undergraduates in 2017 were women as opposed to 30% in India.
- Of 300 UK female engineers surveyed, 84% said they were happy or thrilled with their career choice.
- Companies are 15% more likely to perform better if they are gender diverse.
- Women do and men in engineering studies but leave due to the masculine culture of engineering itself.
- Women are also significantly more likely than men to be interested in engineering work that is socially conscious, e.g., environmental or humanitarian work.
- Although women are academically on par with men in engineering, women suffer self-doubt and often seek reassurance when trusting their problem-solving abilities.
Perhaps it’s time to make a change. Finally, here are some sites to get you started.
Top Scholarships for Women in Engineering
To qualify for this scholarship, you need to be in an ABET / CSAB- accredited baccalaureate or graduate program. It would be best to pursue a career in engineering, engineering technology, or computer science.
The AAUW aims to give scholarships to women studying degrees in fields where women are under-represented, such as degrees in computer science, math, scientific study, and engineering.
This program encourages excellence in female college seniors and graduates in the field of engineering. Moreover, students studying in Europe may also apply, and financial need is a factor in the selection process.
The Baker Hughes scholarship is for sophomore, junior, or senior females studying engineering sciences. The Society of Women Engineers chooses the winners of this scholarship.
Their mission is to help educate black women working toward engineering careers.
This opportunity is for women pursuing a career in aerospace. (You need to be a licensed pilot.)
This program gives funding to college juniors and wants to pursue a career in chemical engineering. Recipients must also work at the Homeland Security Agency when they have completed their education.
This grant is for women wanting to pursue a career in chemical engineering. However, they will only be considered if the Accreditation Board recognizes the institution where they are studying for Engineering and Technology of the Society of Women Engineers.
This program offers scholarships to first-year students, sophomore, and graduate students with good SAT scores.
This scholarship goes to women who are full-time undergraduate students. Also, you need to have completed at least 30-semester credits in a manufacturing engineering field at a university in the US.
The AOE gives multiple scholarships to women in engineering.
If you are enrolled with a school accredited by the Planning Accreditation board and are also part of a minority and can prove financial need, you should apply for this scholarship.
Awards have been made to more than 2798 students in their senior years of engineering study.
This scholarship is for women pursuing a Bachelor of Science or Engineering.
In conclusion, a through-line in the criteria for these scholarships seems to be that the school where you study must have accreditation. Also, it would help if you were a freshman, sophomore, or graduate. For the most part, you need to prove minority status or financial need. Not to mention that your grades need to be good!
With hundreds of scholarships available, why not research and apply? Statistically, you must win at some point. However, if you’re still unsure about the grants mentioned here, check out our page on scholarships for women and single moms.