If you look around in your office, then you will find very few women engineer around you sharing the big responsibilities along with you. A handful of women are actually there at the top of this profession. Does that mean they are not competent enough or there are some other issues related to that? When you look at the students, you will figure out that the high scoring students in science group are mostly female, but when it comes to taking up the job as an engineer, they back out.
There are several assumptions made by people about the absence of female engineers. Some of are listed below –
- Workplace sexism
- No ideal role model yet
- Thought to be technically incompetent
- Motherhood poses to be a big barrier
Amongst all these above stated reasons, one of the major reasons is considered to be that of motherhood. Once a female employee announces pregnancy, things start getting complicated because people around her start calculating the time frame for which she won’t be available. So, no matter how hard the female employee tries to prove her competency, they will be pulled down. In this scenario, what should the female engineers do? This question must be targeted towards the companies. They must come forward with some kind of movement where they will be able to provide equal opportunities to their female engineers as well. To make this drive possible, here are some fixes that the companies or the colleges can adopt to enhance the number of female engineers –
- Support groups for students
- Mentor programs
- Recruitment efforts to be targeted towards female engineers only
If the companies can come up with recruitment drive where it is mentioned that only female candidates will be entertained, then automatically the female engineers will come up in huge number. They will start feeling that the company will understand their problem and would provide them with equal opportunities where they will be able to perform well and sometimes even better than their male counterparts.
Coming up with the fixes:
In order to fix this ratio of men and women engineers, it is imperative that the engineer research goals are reframed and the curriculums are made more relevant to the needs of the society. Women also make better engineers and if you want to prove that right, then you need to bring the female engineers to the forefront. Once the company starts recruiting female engineers, they will witness for themselves that mentoring the female engineers are much more effective. Here are some points that you must keep in mind when you are trying to increase the numbers of female engineers in your company or university –
- It is important to ensure that the female engineers are also feeling comfortable in the work culture of the company. If it is more of a ‘bro’ culture, then it is for sure that the female engineer will not feel comfortable in there.
- Have zero tolerance for hazing
- Sexist speech must not be tolerated at all
- Emphasize respect
- Ensure competency is counted over everything else
- Professional behavior is the key
- Come up with work flexibility
- Complaints about unprofessional behavior must be taken seriously.
When you are recruiting women, you must state that the company is flexible enough in their working manner or schedule. It is not good to assume that the women will be taking complete advantage of the flexibility in hours and will report late every day. Instead, you will find once you provide them with flexible work, the productivity increases manifold. Moreover, if the female engineer is complaining about someone’s unprofessional behavior towards them, then the company must act fast and take the whole thing pretty seriously.
Starting the Recruitment Drive for Females:
Now that you are thinking of enhancing the numbers of female engineers in your company, then you must take into account the following considerations –
- Try visiting the college and recruits through women’s societies. In almost every college you will find the female society, which you can make use of during your recruitment spree.
- During the job fairs, you will have to make sure that you attend the few female engineers that you come across with due importance. Otherwise, they might feel neglected and won’t feel like applying for the job even when their qualifications matches with the job description.
- You can always ask for recommendations from the universities to recruit the best lot of female engineers
- Ask the company’s female engineers to refer others who are looking for an engineering job
- Work from home option is a great way of attracting female engineers in a large number
There are some companies that are known for its ability to provide the right environment for the female engineers. They never keep their eye stuck to the clock and penalize the employees for getting late by 5 minutes. Flexible working environment where the female engineers can work remotely is also helpful for them who have to take care of their family as well. The ratio won’t reach the equilibrium level all of a sudden because the numbers are so less that the companies will have to work really hard to acquire stability in the ratio.
The gender gap is getting prominent by the days and when it was thought that with passing days, things will change for better, nothing of that sort is happening. Role models at the top are an important proposition for the women. They need to know from the very beginning that there is a position for them at the top. So, if you have some female engineer sitting at the top of the ladder, then hold some interactive session with them. This way the female engineer will know that if they perform well, then there are chances that they will climb up the ladder of success as well. This will define the career graph of many women and help them see their bright future.