Bridging the Gender Divide
5 Institutions Promoting Women in Engineering
It’s a sad fact that historically, women have been less likely to move into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) career fields. The institutions and organisations mentioned in this article aim to empower woman and girls to pursue careers in the STEM fields. The lack of woman in STEM fields currently is a global problem, and as such this article aims to shine light on five institutions that are working hard to eradicate this issue and to help us move towards a more equal society.
Society of Woman Engineers (SWE)
The Society of Woman engineers was founded in 1950 and for the past 60 years its stated mission was to give women a voice within the male dominated field of engineering.
SWE implements a programme referred to as SWEnext that allows students to join the institution. Once part of the SWEnext programme, students gain access to numerous benefits such as:
- SWEnext Design Lab: This is designed to encourage young girls to choose a career in engineering. Students are also exposed to a hands-on engineering experience with current SWE members.
- Scholarships: SWE provides access to scholarships for students pursuing accredited bachelor or graduate programs.
- Engineering Activities: Numerous activities to give girls a chance to experience the fun side of engineering.
African Woman in Science and Engineering (AWSE)
AWSE aims to increase the number of competent woman scientists and engineers working in Africa. Nowhere is the lack of female engineers and scientists more evident than in Africa. African woman face an uphill struggle to make their worth known in a male dominated society. AWSE boast members all across Africa. Some of the activities and programs are listed below:
- High School Outreach: AWSE helps create awareness of the benefits of perusing a STEM related field, they also provide mentorship programs to encourage participation in STEM subjects.
- University outreach: Students are given the opportunity to link up with a mentor to guide and assist them through the challenges of acquiring an engineering degree.
- Technology Transfer: Opportunities are created for members to participate in technology transfer activities.
Stemettes is an organisation that strives to inspire and motivate the next generation of females in STEM fields, they aim to do this by giving them access to events, hackathons, mentoring schemes etc. Stemettes boasts a total attendance of 17000 young woman to their various events and programs. Some of these programs are listed below:
- Panel events: Numerous events are set up with industry leaders in order to allow members to engage with industry professionals within STEM fields.
- Hackathon: Hackathons are events where members get some hands-on experience building and working on STEM related projects.
IEEE Woman in Engineering (WIE)
This institution is one of the largest institutions in the world that actively promotes woman engineers and scientist while also inspiring and encouraging young girls to pursue a career in engineering. IEEE WIE provides members with numerous benefits, some of which are indicated below:
- Scholarship program: WIE provides members with the opportunity to apply for scholarships at various prestigious schools.
- Travel Grant: Travel grants can be applied for in order for members to visit IEEE WIE events around the globe.
- Special Funding: Special funding can be requested in order to set up events that will run in accordance with the organisations stated mission and goals.
Robogals is a student run organisation that encourages young girls to consider persuing a career in engineering. Robogirls has global reach and relies on university student volunteers to run the organisation. Robogals offers the following events:
- Engineering Workshops: These engineering workshops are run by the local chapter of robogals, they arrange the events with schools in the area. These events can be anywhere for an hour long to a full day. The workshops provide young girls with hands on experience and aim to inspire them to consider an engineering career.
- Community Events: Numerous events are hosted such as the SED (Science and Engineering Day) where a series of STEM activities are arranged for young girls to introduce them to the excitement involved with science and engineering.
This list is by no means complete, there are hundreds if not thousands of organisations that are striving to put right the gender imbalance in engineering and the ones listed above are the most visible examples of such institutions.