As one of the most underrepresented professions occupied by women, engineering has far to go. Challenges such as gender discrimination and harassment are very much a reality, however national initiatives such as Engineer Canada’s 30 by 30 strive to create more welcoming workplace environments – in collaboration with organizations and employers – that are inclusive for all.
This year’s theme for International Women’s Day 2022 is #BreakTheBias, a call to break the bias in our respective communities, workplaces, and schools by calling out gender bias, discrimination, and stereotyping when we see it. At BCIT, we are committed to providing a learning and working environment free from discrimination, bullying, and harassment and are proud to share free courses in understanding unconscious bias and creating respectful workplaces.
In this week’s Ask a Woman in Engineering series, discover what it’s like being an engineer, from the challenges to the rewards.
Sirine Maalej, Ph.D, P.Eng, faculty, Mechanical Engineering
“As a woman in engineering, it is very rewarding to see yourself playing an important role in the work place and society. To know that you’re inspiring young women – such as my students and my daughter – is fulfilling. But there are definitely some challenges. Being in a profession relatively dominated by males is not always easy but with mutual respect, hard work, and empowering collaborations, we are all contributing to a brighter future of women in engineering.”
Kate Viger, student, Mining and Mineral Resource Engineering
“I feel lucky to be entering the profession at this time in history; it’s the best engineering has ever been for women. I receive a lot of support and am lifted up by my friends and teachers. But it isn’t all perfect in such a male-dominated industry. The vast majority of people have been wonderful and inclusive, but there are still a few outliers. Overall, there’s a need for improvement in the attitudes towards women; however, now is a good time to be in engineering and become a part of the change.”
Jenny Tung, alumna, Aircraft Maintenance Engineer
“As an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer, every day holds an exciting challenge. My personal life goal is to “never stop learning” and this trade fulfills that completely. Being a visible minority and a woman, we are the very few amongst the crowd. However, we are growing in numbers.”
Remya Sreenath, B.Tech, P.Eng., faculty, Electrical Engineering & Technology
“Since starting my career, I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of a welcoming, courteous, and respectful group of professionals. However, being a woman in engineering can be challenging at times. There might be instances where you have to ensure your voice is heard. The only way to achieve that is through continuous learning and by believing in your abilities. In my opinion, there shouldn’t be differentiation between women and men in engineering. To be a successful engineer, you should possess the same skills: technical, analytical, interpersonal, and organizational.”
Alyssa Hermann, EIT, M.Eng., alumna, Civil Engineering
“When you seek out the right spaces—at school, work, and in extracurricular societies—there is a lot of support out there for women in engineering. We are seeing a culture shift right now and it’s really exciting to be part of that wave of change. However, the culture is still actively evolving, so not every person says or makes the right choice each time. But I’ve seen a lot of people who are willing to learn and change, too. I think that as long as you build yourself a close circle of allies, there is every opportunity to succeed.”
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Curious about which engineering field is right for you? Explore BCIT Engineering programs and join the next Engineering Info Session to learn more.