Discussion in 'The Leisure Lounge' started by kenny82, Sep 5, 2009.
I'm not sexist or anything but i have never worked with any female mech designers. Do they exist???
i do think they exist. i'm one of them. lol.
i've been a registered mechanical engineer since 2006 and i'm working as a design/ project engineer.
well hello chie... glad to know there's at least one lady out there! Anyone else?
Sadly, i'm completely male, but in my last job the design & development team consisted of 4 people (1 Mech eng, 2 Design Engs and a Biomech Eng), and was the only boy! Can't imagine that happening in many places!
Here's a relevant article from Canada.
- "Women account for only nine per cent of working engineers in this country, according to Engineers Canada."
- Women studying engineering often outperform men. "There is a sense that 'I might not make it,' and she needs to prove herself so she goes the extra mile, while the men may have a perception of taking it easier."
- Young women are attracted to engineering because it saves lives! ""Engineers save more lives than doctors and I know civil engineers do because they make sure the water is clean, which is fundamental," said Elizabeth Croft, a professor of advanced robotics at the University of B.C., who is working on a robot that helps disabled people recover their balance."
By Tiffany Crawford, Vancouver Sun
Link: http://www.vancouversun.com/entertainme ... story.html
Women who become engineers save lives, help reduce poverty and protect the environment, say several prominent Canadian female engineers who are trying to combat negative stereotypes and dwindling numbers in an already male-dominated profession.
Canadian women have made huge strides since the 1980s in non-traditional occupations, but the number of female engineers remains low.
Women account for only nine per cent of working engineers in this country, according to Engineers Canada. And statistics suggest the number of women in undergraduate university programs is dropping.
In 2008, women made up only 17.5 per cent of enrolment in undergraduate engineering programs in Canadian universities, compared to 20.6 per cent in 2001.
The numbers are conspicuously low when compared to other historically male-dominated professions such as medicine. In Canada now, more women than men enter medical school.
More than 58 per cent of medical students are women, compared to 36 per cent in 1980, according to the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada.
At Montreal's Ecole Polytechnique -- where 20 years ago, 14 female engineering students were selected for their gender and murdered -- 2,874 men and 804 women enrolled in an engineering bachelor's degree program this fall. Unlike the national trend, the proportion of women at the school has actually increased since 1989, from 18 per cent to 21 per cent.
"Engineers save more lives than doctors and I know civil engineers do because they make sure the water is clean, which is fundamental," said Elizabeth Croft, a professor of advanced robotics at the University of B.C., who is working on a robot that helps disabled people recover their balance.
"Think of all the life-saving equipment in hospitals."
If it sounds like a pitch to get more young Canadian women interested in the profession, it is. Engineers like Croft are astutely aware that few women are signing up for careers in engineering because of a variety of misconceptions.
"Woman go into into nursing or medicine because they want to save lives," said Dr. Tyseer Aboulnasr, dean of applied science at the University of British Columbia.
"When you look throughout history, the one thing that has saved more lives than anything else, and will continue to do that for eternity, is clean water," she said.
A recent survey of young women by Engineers Canada found that many either didn't know what engineering was, were troubled by the perception of an "old boys' school" mentality, or they thought it was all about building engines for cars.
Many of the respondents said they wanted a career in which they helped people, said Chantal Guay, CEO of Engineers Canada. What they don't seem to understand, she said, is that with looming crisis such as climate change and water shortages, Canadian engineers will be vital in helping people around the world. Helping northern and aboriginal communities here at home have access to safe, clean water is also a challenge, she added.
"Initiatives like Engineers Without Borders take what we do here and apply it to small villages where there is a bad quality of life," said Guay.
"That type of engineering is exciting to the younger generation. They want to make a difference."
For this reason, in the past few decades women have typically chosen disciplines such as environmental or biomedical engineering over mechanical, civil or computer engineering.
For example, at Toronto's Ryerson University in the fall of 2008, 541 men enrolled in mechanical engineering, compared to only 32 women.
In civil engineering, 88 women enrolled, compared to 328 men.
When Jodi Huettner, 30, a recent mechanical engineering graduate of Ottawa's Carleton University, toured schools in Toronto mentoring young women as part of an outreach program, she couldn't believe the myths she had to debunk.
"They thought engineers only work in cubicle farms," she said. "But it's very hands-on and we're usually working with teams of other people, coming up with solutions."
"When you'd ask the women why, they'd say 'Because I want to see it work,' and that was the most common phrase I heard. They want to help people."
Huettner, who is searching for a job in mechanical engineering in Vancouver, admitted there were challenges being a woman in the engineering program.
She recalled a project in her first year when she was on a team of mostly men and only two women. They had to build a boat to race down the Rideau Canal, but the men wouldn't let the women contribute.
"Although both of us had good suggestions for the build and design of the actual hull, the only thing we were allowed to do was work on the paddles. This was just the guys on the team. They didn't want us to have anything to do with the actual work," she said. "It was ridiculous."
Overall, Huettner said her experience in school was positive.
Huettner's current challenge is finding a job. She chalks her lack of employment up to the recession and believes her gender has nothing to do with it.
"In these down times, people aren't purchasing as many things that were being manufactured, so the manufacturing industry has taken a hit and mechanical engineers have everything to do with all the different facets of manufacturing, so all the companies that I've talked to say not only are we not hiring junior engineers, but we are laying people off."
She's optimistic the economic climate will change. And if not, she says there are so many other facets of engineering to explore.
Take the robotics work Croft and her mechanical engineering students are doing at UBC.
They work with the students in the department of human kinetics to operate a robot to help disabled people.
"This is big robot that moves as a platform and we're using it as a way to study balance," adding that many people in the disabled community have impaired balance. "And then it leads to falls and undesirable outcomes."
Another project is a "furry" robotic creature that mimics the way children breathe. The idea is to help anxious kids reduce stress. The creature follows the child and when it detects an increased heartbeat, it slows its breathing.
"So if you are really stressing it, the creature will see that the heartbeat is really high and will try to slow down its own breathing and encourage the kid to follow the creature," she said.
Aboulnasr said about 20 per cent of engineering students at UBC are women, and that they tend to outperform their male counterparts.
"I think there is a measure of self-selection. The ones who do well are tougher," she said.
"There is a sense that 'I might not make it,' and she needs to prove herself so she goes the extra mile, while the men may have a perception of taking it easier."
I have worked with a number of excellent women engineers. I would happily work with and even for one in the future. I believe that our profession would be improved with their continued contribution.
There have been two women Engineers who were Presidents of my Professional Society - ASME: Nancy Fitzroy - 1986/1987 and Susan H. Skemp 2002/2003.
I've met three. .....in the thirty five years of my career.
Hi, guys.... . I have over twenty years of experience as a Mechanical Engineer Disinger, Manufacturing Engineer and over five years of experience as a 3D CAD Designer. I worked on the big Engineering Enterprise about 18 years.. and I was there one female mechanical Engineer.. Yes, it was very difficult to prove- female can be good Mechanical Engineers! And if it is interesting for you, we can speak about it more...
I have worked with three women mechanical engineers in 23 years
One was a complete ditz and she was let go
One was very capable, worked hard, did good work. she left to get a masters and then had a baby and now I think works part time from home.
One was valedictorian of her undergrad class, then got a masters at one of the top five schools in the country. She did great work and was asked to head up the company's first branch office.
So in my experience women engineers are just like men engineers: some are terrible and some are great.
For those of you in Cambridge (UK):
From short cracks to glass ceilings, or an engineer in wonderland
The Women in Science Engineering and Technology Initiate (WiSETI) annual lecture presents Professor Julia King, Vice-Chancellor of Aston University, talking about her life in science. This event is for anyone with an interest in science, especially women.
Talk (part of Cambridge Science Festival http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/sciencefestival/)
9 March 17:00 - 18:00
Tel: 01223 764091
About Julia King:
After sixteen years as an academic researcher and university lecturer at Cambridge and Nottingham universities, Julia King joined Rolls-Royce plc in 1994. At Rolls-Royce she held a number of senior executive appointments, including Director of Advanced Engineering for the Industrial Power Group, Managing Director of the Fan Systems Business, and Engineering Director for the Marine Business. In 2002 Julia became Chief Executive of the Institute of Physics, and in 2004 she returned to academia as Principal of the Engineering Faculty at Imperial College, London. In December 2006 she became Vice-Chancellor of Aston University.
Julia has published over 160 papers on fatigue and fracture in structural materials and developments in aerospace and marine propulsion technology. Her research has been recognised through the award of the Grunfeld, Bengough and Kelvin medals. In 1997 she was elected to Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Engineering and was made a CBE for â€˜Services to Materials Engineeringâ€™ in July 1999. She is a Liveryman of the Goldsmithsâ€™ Company, an Honorary Graduate of Queen Mary, London, and an Honorary Fellow of Murray Edwards College, Cambridge, and of Cardiff University.
Separate names with a comma.