Throughout history, STEM fields have traditionally been male-dominated fields with little to no women in STEM. These days, however, things are changing and every year there are more and more women graduating with degrees in STEM fields and entering the relevant industries.
One such industry that has received a much-needed increase in female representation is engineering, more specifically, civil engineering. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimate that only around 14 percent of civil engineers are women at present, although this number is steadily increasing on a regular basis.
Women in Engineering
The presence of women in engineering is becoming more widespread in many industries all around the world. Female engineers regularly demonstrate their ability and determination to shape the future and make the world a better, cleaner, safer place via their work.
The National Society of Professional Engineers noted that over the period of 2000 to 2009, the number of women engineers increased by a total 12,000, while over the same period, the number of male engineers decreased by 106,000. This growth demonstrates the increase in women in STEM and hopefully increases for the foreseeable future.
Women have existed in the civil engineering field at least since the dawn of the 20th century, with Nora Stanton Blatch Barney becoming the first woman to receive a degree in civil engineering, when she graduated Cornell University in 1905. Today around just under one fifth of civil engineers in the United States are women.
Women’s Roles in Civil Engineering
There are no limits to the roles that women can hold in civil engineering and their ability to achieve just as much as their male counterparts is evident. Barriers that once existed in the civil engineering industry are no more and there are equal opportunities aplenty for men and women.
Such is the sheer width and breadth of women’s roles in engineering that the website Engineer Girl has been set up to document the huge increase in female representation throughout engineering as a whole. The website makes for an inspirational read for women of all ages who are hoping to enter the field of engineering.
Civil Engineering Projects
Civil engineering is essentially the glue that holds society together. It’s everything we see around us and even things we don’t see. Working as a civil engineer gives women the chance to play a hugely important role in the development of society and the world around us.
Roads, footpaths and nature trails, railways, schools, offices, hospitals, and our water and power supply, are all developed and implemented by civil engineers and the teams that they work on. Without an abundance of talented civil engineers, things in this world simply wouldn’t be the same.
Civil engineers are responsible for the kinds of things that we rarely notice in our day-to-day lives and that there’s no doubt we take for granted but would find life very hard to live without. Take a look here, for more information on the kinds of projects that civil engineers work on.
The opportunities for female engineers are limitless and employers are frequently turning to female employees because of the vast amounts of untapped potential they often offer the industry. With outdated gender stereotypes being disregarded by businesses all around the nation, the future has never been brighter for female engineers.
Succeeding as a Female Engineer
Like with any career, qualifications will only get you so far. Networking is a key part of succeeding as an engineer – female or otherwise. If possible, you should aim to build your network while still studying. Women in stem should do their best to devote a portion of their spare time to socializing with other women in stem and female engineers.
Becoming part of a network of ambitious young women engineers can help propel your career to the very top, and having the ability to seek advice from more experienced engineers, if you need to, is an invaluable part of being an engineer.
Surrounding yourself with people like you – other civil engineers, provides you with the opportunity to go far in your industry of choice as having the support network of people going through the same ups and downs as you are is essential.
Working as a civil engineer at a company that celebrates diversity is a truly wonderful experience. Here at Keck & Wood, we value the person behind the job and provide a range of career options that are suited for those interested in entering the exciting field of civil engineering.