March 8th marks International Women's Day 2020, a global day that celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. We wanted to take this opportunity to highlight the valuable contributions from women at the Engineering Institute of Technology (EIT) and the movements they are making to break through the glass ceiling.
In 2017, the World Economic Forum released its global figures on women in engineering. They reported that around 20% of engineering graduates are women, but only 13% of the engineering workforce is female. A lot has been done to elevate female engineers in the last couple of years, but there is still work to do. Getting girls ready and prepared for the world of STEM work is one of the major challenges of our time.
Thus, the importance of introducing young girls to STEM subjects at an early schooling level is paramount. We consulted our very own Deputy Dean of Engineering at EIT, Indumathi V, to collect her thoughts on the ongoing challenge of getting more women into engineering. She believes that it is essential for young girls to be aware of the various career options and study pathways available to them.
Pictured: EIT Deputy Dean Indumathi V
"Education is the foundation to a better society. Engineering is the field that is a pillar in providing economic, environmental, health and security benefits to society. I am a strong advocate for girls and women in STEM. I am encouraged by being a mum of two young girls and a boy myself. It is important that girls are aware of any capabilities that they need to develop from a young age to nurture their interest in the field. I have run some successful initiatives and actively participate in events that promote girls in STEM."
Indumathi is passionate about innovating in the educational space and getting more people educated and trained in engineering. She understands, however, that the prospect of studying towards a career in engineering is a daunting one. Retaining the interest in mathematics in young adults is becoming harder and harder. Indumathi said:
"I was a student who was not very good at maths when I was young. It wasn't until my year 10 when maths started finally making sense, and my confidence grew to pursue Engineering. That making sense led me to understand the importance of a passionate teacher, good pedagogy, good training, well rounded education and how it changed my pathway. Both engineering and education share synergies of making a positive impact on the future generation and society."
Revolutionizing the way education is delivered is necessary to include girls and women, particularly in developing nations, in engineering education and training. Indumathi is currently pursuing her Ph.D. on the topic of Engineering and Education at the University of Southern Queensland.
Her research work includes looking at how institutes can combine technologies to assist students and teachers in the learning environment. After joining EIT in January 2019, Indumathi has helped the institute grow from strength to strength as the institute looks to ways to revolutionize the dissemination of engineering education and training.
"EIT has grown very strongly since I started at the beginning of 2019. Their innovative approach to accessible, flexible, and high-quality education is like no other in the world. The success is strongly attributed to the passionate team of lecturers and staff here at EIT.
"We are always looking at ways to do things better and are very student-centric. While we have a young growing on-campus program, we are growing strongly every day and have achieved some great recognition via professional accreditation of our programs and via our staff and student publication list growing strongly."
Hutt, Rosamond. "Why Do so Many Women Leave Engineering? Probably Not for the Reason You're Thinking." World Economic Forum, www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/11/why-do-so-many-women-leave-engineering?utm_content=buffer43a1f&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer&fbclid=IwAR2z4QcvQV23dIrMlaP1N8l_jSjUUQN0ifpNAfdTgU7xINGywP6qhjHw6sw.