I speak for myself and a few ladies that: being a lady and an engineer is difficult. How can we make the best of both worlds?
You cannot climb a mast in heels and you definitely cannot go for a dinner party in boots.
I have been a mechanical engineering student for four years and rounding up into my fifth year. I am surrounded by guys who are deep into the technical stuff (even a few of the ladies) but most of the time I’m lost.
But no excuses: It is required in every field that you are able to combine theoretical studies with practical experience and we cannot blame the African system for not adequately combining the two for us. We make our own decisions and we should be bold enough to go out and seek experience for ourselves.
The main issue however is that cars and mechanical equipments and to add football, do not come naturally to me. By my opinion: men are more into machines and equipment, applications and games etc. They do well to get dirty and fix things. But as a lady, I’m more interested in fashion, make-up, music and hair!! I love to read but I don’t think I have ever picked up a manual in my spare time –“how to fix a broken radio” (I would try it sometime)
How do I combine my engineering life and my social life without completely losing myself in the other? If I am so concerned about the latest fashion, how do I split my priorities? Do I pop up a few tabs on the latest engine models while looking up bellanaija style in another window? How am I able to be an engineer by day and a hot chic by night?
These are the sort of questions I ask and I am still seeking a review from any female engineer who has conquered. There is no doubt that a few women in this industry feel the same way sometimes.
There is sure evidence of discrimination and competition between men and women in the engineering industry (e.g. mechanical engineering). Men are built physically for the labour and challenges in the field but can a lady put in as much muscle? My only fear is that I would not be able to contend with the men in the field if I am not able to practice some aspects of my theory.But put me behind a desk and give me a drawing and I can finish and analyze it in about two hours. If my mind is in it, there is no limit. Desk jobs can get boring. Would I prefer to be behind a desk and wear whatever I want on my feet or be stepping on the asphalt with my boots? Which is more interesting?
I chose to study engineering because I like to think. I like to be on my feet and not snoring behind a desk. I knew it was not easy but I never knew it was this hard. (I speak for myself). I see myself more as an analyst and a manager. I love to speak so it is not a surprise if I consider lecturing. In this case, I can hang my boots for a while.
I love my heels, but I need my boots. The money I get to buy my heels comes from the work I do while wearing my boots. It is complicated being a woman in a man’s world but I am determined to make it just as other women have in this industry.
What is my solution?
“Let life be.” If you vent and worry for the rest of your life you cannot change anything. If you have made it this far, then you can make it to the end. Once you make it to the end, you are already a success. Success defined under this topic is being able to combine two great things- being a woman and being an engineer.