The female's road to discovery

June 23, 2014

When it comes to engineering, women seem to be lacking. Where are all the girls and what are we doing wrong that they aren't interested in this field of STEM?

The Independent blogger Kate Hilpern pretty much sums it up when she writes that "engineering touches almost everything we do and use." Engineering and the other branches of STEM make up the way most of our society functions. However, Hilpern argues that there are not enough women putting themselves out there in the engineering field. The article goes on to mention how women need role models in the field to whom to aspire.

So how come there aren't nearly as many women engineers as there are men? Working your way up the ladder in the engineering field makes for a lucrative lifestyle. There are plenty of women who are competent for such a profession. So where are the all the girls?

Let's face it: no one is going to look at someone in the engineering field the same way they look at Kate Moss. But that doesn't mean there can't be women engineers who are worth looking up to.

For instance, take a look at Beulah Henry, the female version of Thomas Edison, in The Expert Witness blogger Robin Sjostrom's article about famous women in engineering. Henry created several toys and useful home supplies in the 1920s and '30s. Her inventions helped set the stage for copiers and automatic sewing machines.

Hedy Lamarr was known as a gorgeous movie star in the '40s, but she also created a remote-controlled communications system for the military in the second World War. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi network connections have stemmed from her invention.

The only thing worse than a snowstorm is when you literally can't see anything past the falling sleet. Mary Anderson fixed that problem, however, when she invented windshield wipers after witnessing a man trying clear his car during a storm. Engineers aren't just people who work in a plant fixing pipe leaks. They are inventors and imaginative creators.

Hilpern talks about how engineering is also about art and design as much as it is about technicality. Incorporating these principles into engineering classes in school might just get women a little more intrigued by the idea of an occupation in engineering.

This is where STEAM takes the stage. The 'A' stands for Art, which partners with Design as well. The biggest concern is that art is not emphasized in the classroom so some women automatically ignore the idea of engineering. Integrating art and design into STEM classes will encourage the creative side of young engineers, women included.

Photographer Charles Nѐgre said, "Where science ends, art begins." Science explains while art shows; the two complement each other. They have divergent understandings the universe, yet both conclude in the same beautiful manner and eventually intersect. This is where engineering comes in. Invention and creativity is required in order to further society. Women are not disqualified from this necessity. Having both sexes' viewpoints incorporate both sides of humanity so we can draw from a broader perspective and obtain a wider range of discovery.

For Hilpern's complete article, click here.

For Sjostrom's complete article, click here.

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