The growing presence of women in engineering

Young woman engineer working in electronics lab

As a woman, I strongly believe that the greater gender equity will benefit all of us. Over the past hundred years, there has been a great move towards gender equality. But there are still many areas where women are not well represented; a good example being the engineering field.

I work with an amazing group of female engineers and have firsthand experience of the effect of a balanced workforce. Fraunhofer Project Center practices an open opportunity for all and we have prepared its rewards.

But in general, the ratio of the male in engineering is significantly higher. Statics have reflected less than 25 percent of engineers are females but a decade ago this number was much lower and is steadily increasing. As a result, there are many competent female engineers in the workforce. With the growing interest of women in this field, coupled with their interest in pursuing a degree in engineering, many things can make this trend continue.

The increase in female engineers
When engineering started gaining ground in Europe as a preferred career, most women were not keen on math and science as a topic. But now that there have been many developments in the STEM fields and large numbers of women are gaining interest without getting worried about gender inequality.

The significant change in this trend can be attributed to numerous factors. Including STEM subjects from the beginning of their career and making appropriate availability of necessary resources at the college level will increase the interest of females towards engineering. Consequently, it has been observed that the percentage of females in engineering has risen tremendously because of this factor.

Addressing gender barriers in the field
Many factors contribute to gender inequality, even though many females now consider engineering a better field to be involved in. Part of this is the absence of role models for female engineers. Since the percentage of women in the field is low, the leaders in the field that are female are also fewer. As a result, new generations of female engineers may find it challenging to find suitable mentors. All in all, the only way there can be more female engineer leaders is to have more females in the field.

Encourage early
In order to motivate women to become more interested in engineering, professional organizations, companies, and universities must provide specific essential resources and provide them at the right level. To become more interested in engineering it is important to see how it applies to the real world. Design and problem-based learning methods focus on this, very often providing the opportunity for students to define their own problems to apply engineering knowledge to.

Leading by example in the field
Although female engineers are yet to gain popularity in the industry and in mainstream media, some women are already making it to the limelight in the field. Such women are proving to the world that it’s possible to break all limits, especially gender stereotypes. Also, they have shown to the world that a woman can perform excellently in the field.

As women are encouraged to enter the engineering industry, some of them will find it interesting and find their way to the top. This, in turn, can bring tremendous advantages to the workforce as more women find their way into this field.

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Chantal Boomkamp-Eppink


Chantal has several years’ experience in operational roles in high tech start-up companies in and around the region of Twente. In addition to facilitating internal organization and the effectiveness of FIP-AM@UT facilities and staff, she is responsible for the interaction, synchronization, and implementation of our partners’ strategic choices.