Women in Engineering – Forlorn hopes and barriers beneath
Todays guest post is by Pratish Amin ia professional writer who is been writing content on Career, job markets and Education Sector.
Once in a while, we read articles, stories and news about female achievers, in the areas of entrepreneurship, sports, politics, etc., but it is only once in a while, not quite often. Things like these are even harder to come across, especially when it comes to Engineering and Technology. Is it just us thinking that in India, there is a huge lack of women participation in the areas of E&T?
“No” says reports.
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India has scored the lowest rank in terms of female participation, as per a report from Elsevier, when it comes to workforce access, knowledge economy and, among many other facets, Engineering. Several reasons are put forth as the reasons for the lack of active female participation in these areas, but almost all such studies have a few things in common such as the selection procedures of engineering institutes, in-college environment and cultural attitude spread across the country.
Engineering Selection Procedures
According to a study by “Aspiring Minds”, the selection procedure in effect among engineering universities and colleges of India contributes the most in shattering the engineering dreams of many Indian women.
The selection processes followed across the nation by engineering colleges mainly comprises of either self- regulated cut off marks or individual admission methods that are discreet and are involuntarily avoiding female participation in engineering courses. These procedures are believed to lack testing a individual’s interests, skills and confidence of the candidates, which should have been the deciding factors of a successful engineering career.
So, what can be possibly done to reverse this situation and allow more aspiring female engineers to enroll into these colleges?
A revamped selection procedure where all the above mentioned parameters such as interests and talents are thoroughly scrutinized could impart a huge change in the engineering education system of India. A huge increase in the number of female engineers can be witnessed and also in India’s engineering achievements, economical contribution of women, etc.
Though it all lies in the hands of the Governing bodies and the concerned authorities who draw policies for Engineering colleges, self-interest and toughened competition from female candidates too can change this situation to a considerable level.
In all the reports about Indian women’s participation in engineering field, the course of study shifts directly to the next possible barrier – the classroom environment. A surprising result was yielded every time as the result of in-class environment studies, makingthis one of the most interesting reason discussed in these studies.
The classroom environment of engineering colleges is proven to grow more confidence among female engineering students than male students or female students of any other courses. When asked about gender equality and ease of getting along, they say that they feel confident in their classroom setting as their intelligence, interest and skills get well recognized by their faculty.
Moreover, the percentage of male engineering students who feel isolated in their classrooms were higher than the female’s, as per the result of a study conducted among around 5000students. And when it comes to respect, both male and female engineers feel that they receiveproper respect from their peers in every manner.
It seems that the classroom environment in institutes is indeed an added advantage than a barrier for female students in pursuing engineering courses.
Right from the ancient times, societies in India, end-to-end, are dominated by males and hence, female contribution towards developing a society was being very low to none. Even in this modern day, where voices of gender equality are heard from all the parts of the world, active female contribution in the Indian societies are unbelievably lower that many other developed and developing countries.
A recent study indicates that the percentage of female parliament members as well as the percentage of Indian families that have a woman as their major income source is way less than 10%. This was after a one-third increase in the overall female contribution to their society from the year 2001 to 2011. The only possible way to change this situation is to make resources easily accessible to female entrepreneurs and let them take part actively in the nation’s workforce.
Increasing the number of female students in Engineering colleges could be believed to increase female contribution to a society to considerable levels. This could also lead to an increase in the number of female workforce across industries, consequently leading to an increased number of families having women as their major source of income.
Some Soothing facts
The study by “Aspiring Minds” indicates that the education system of India, especially engineering does not have the “chilly” climate as the western countries do. Also, the study shows a steady increase in the confidence level of aspiring female engineers who prepare for entrance exams like CAT & IITJEE. Results of such engineering entrance examinations are showing that women are slowly moving to the top in scores and the numbers of female candidates enrolling to engineering colleges are in the rise.
Also, while the percentage of female students studying life sciences, medicines and biology are increasing in a fast pace, the percentage of female students opting engineering courses is stumbling around 32%. But, this rate is considerably higher when compared to UK and other countries where several studies about gender parity in engineering education were conducted.
It has been witnessed that women who enter into any field are quite confident about their ability to work and bring out the best.
The same goes in the engineering field where they find themselves more confident and motivated. However, there are certain things that make female engineers fall behind men engineers, especially in terms of environmental aspect, feeling respected and academic settings.
Though the selection process and social attitude about women were the only visible barriers in making their engineering dreams come true, recent increase in the number of female engineering students, their confidence level in the classroom setting, feeling of being respected by their peers and other such factors show that many women have succeeded in crossing these barriers.
Self confidence and hard work is all needed for any woman to achieve her engineering degree. If you were waiting for things to change before you take a step towards your engineering education, this is time you step in and change things up on your own!
Pratish Amin is a professional writer who is been writing content on Career, job markets and Education Sector.
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