Engineering is a field especially in Uganda that is literally been known to be male dominated. People ask(especially the few female Engineering students/practitioners) why there are a few of them always. Alot of accounts ofcourse have repeatedly been given by different people some of which are true and resonably sounding and others just based on merely literal perspectives.
When i first attended an Engineering class in my University i was somewhat amused at the number of females our class had, i actually expected them to make tat least half or so of the class but surprisingly they made not even a quarter. Well, to some extent i expected it afterall they weren’t even making 10 out the 30+ in my high school.
In my article Break the norms, defy the odds, tell them “Am an Engineer first, then a woman” i featured an article where the Junior Electrical Engineer at Hima Cement Limited Gloria Mercy who we saw had emerged to be the female engineer after 10 years in that company. This is resonably quite a long time Isn’t it?. She somehow shared her views in her own perspective as to why there were a few of them in the active field and well, in the same line today lets look at the 4 Reasons why there are few female engineers. These are quite outstanding out of the many that one could come up with.
Here they are:
- Absence of Mentors and Role models.
Just like babies learn from the elders, so do junior female engineers crave to learn from Pioneers. Unfortuntely even the few who are yet there could possibly be there for daily bread. Afterall who mentored them in their days? No one… In the end, the cycle continues on and on like this and in the very end, this lead us to the 2nd reason…
- Lack of Passion and Enthusiasm
Passion and Enthusiasm being a great driving force for any sustainable professional yields,and having looked at “The abscence of mentors and role models”, its quiet clear that productivity would be low (if any) in the field of work and especially since The Relevance of Professionalism to an Engineer is not emphasized, there isn’t any passion or enthusiasm left to push work on.
- Subject Bias
Now, am sure you haven’t forgotten what happened in junior and senior high schools, girls were biased about subjects like Math, Physics painting pictures that those were hard and were for boys!. To the dismay, those are the cores of Any sort of Engineering Course you can think of, Civil and Building, Mechanical, Electrical, Chemical.. mention it!
- Societal Perspectives and Masculinity involved in Engineering work.
This reminds me of the experience one the Prominent female Engineers in Uganda who once on a public lecture held by The Association of Chemical Engineering Students- Kyambogo University shared, when she wasn’t successfully offered the Job after a job Interview that she held with one of the Principal company in the country on a reason that a panelist thought ‘She wouldn’t be able to lift a minor machine’. Technically the work is energy demanding, but this shouldn’t be reason enough to scare anyone away irrespective of their gender.
With the woman emanicipation in the land, lets hope that we are yet to get more female Engineers onboard.