“Should I leave engineering?”
“I cannot do these engineering politics anymore!”
“This is not what I was expecting engineering to be.”
Many women in engineering careers have had these thoughts, once or twice.
Sometimes they have these thoughts multiple times in their lives, until they change careers.
According to Engineers Canada, the number of newly-licensed engineers who are women in 2020 was 20.6% in all of Canada.
That number goes down when you count how many women in Canada were already practicing engineers the year before. According to Engineers Canada, in 2019, women represented 13.9% of total national membership. But that number included various membership levels besides fully licensed engineers so the actual number of practicing engineers who are female in Canada is less than 13.9%.
Honestly, the mystery of why Canada has such a small number of practicing engineers who identify as female is not a mystery at all.
Based on my experience of organizing the Women in Engineering Summit (WES Ltd) over 5 years, the solutions to not only recruit but also retain women into engineering are almost painfully obvious.
I shared 3 tips for improving gender balance in engineering, during a workshop at CSME 2022 (the Canadian Society for Mechanical Engineering International Congress). The slides of that workshop are posted on the Women in Engineering Summit website.
To summarize, women engineers need more:
1. Flexible work opportunities like part-time and job-sharing in engineering, which may mean bringing engineering into the 21st century,
2. Enforcement of harassment work policies, which may mean firing the abusers and other bad apples, and
3. Support to obtain their P.Eng. (Professional Engineer) license, which may mean financial backing and support for fair promotions.
Engineering is a good career, some say the career of the future, therefore we need to make it more welcoming to women. If Canada ever expects to keep up the worldwide technology and innovation race, they will need diversity in engineering.
Let’s get these 3 solutions moving now! MT Consulting Group can help. Contact us to learn more about we are helping Engineering firms reach their 30 by 30 goal.
Guest post by Claudia Gomez-Villeneuve, P.Eng, M.Eng, PMP, DTM, FEC
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