There is one topic within engineering that I have always been uncomfortable with and that is speaking about women in engineering. Yes I know, I am a woman and I recruit engineers both female and male but still this topic makes me uncomfortable. So, I asked myself why?
I have been uncomfortable with this simply from the perspective that I didn’t understand why we were segregating women and making an ‘issue’. From my understanding of diversity and equality I felt that in our talking about equality we were making women different and forcing men to token hire into different positions to encourage equality within their company. Did you notice I said forcing men into token hiring? My natural instinct knows that a male usually runs the company! This is the problem.
Then I realized, I haven’t experienced or haven’t realized the bias that a lot of women experience in a male dominated industry. I am lucky. I also deal with some forward thinking clients who don’t want this attitude in their businesses and I have two directors who are very outspoken on this topic and simply don’t have a sexist attitude.
I didn’t think I was a feminist, or at least the type that I have pictured in my mind who burn their bras running naked through the streets in protest along with no regard for personal hygiene. But I do want equality, I want equality for you and me. I want my sister, who is disabled to be given the same opportunities that I am entitled to have despite her physical capability. I want my stepdaughter to know that she can be and do anything that she wants in this life, even be a soccer player equally to her brother. I want the wonderfully intelligent women that I meet in my job to stop feeling inadequate and believe that they are able to take on that CEO position, Senior Engineer position or the next step up in their career. I want them to understand, they ARE capable of doing anything.
So, a feminist, then I guess yes I am; in that I want all people to be in a work environment where they feel they can achieve anything they put their mind to, regardless of gender, disability or race.