The engineering landscape is changing, creating high demand for women engineers across several industries

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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The engineering landscape is changing, creating high demand for women engineers across several industries

Engineering is a vast, creative, and exciting field! The strategic importance of this sector for the economy is due to its intense integration with various industry segments. While STEM fields have been inherently challenging for both men and women, the real struggle begins when you are the only woman in a room full of engineers. We have come a long way now where we have women at leadership positions in leading organizations across the world. Although their numbers are relatively low as compared to men, women engineers are performing exceptionally.

The number of women in IITs has been below 10% for a long time now. In 2021, quota for women in IITs was set at 20%, which showcases the government’s efforts to narrow down the gender gap in STEM fields.

Nonprofit organizations such as the Society of Women Engineers are leading the way by providing scholarships to promising women candidates. Platforms like Amazon WOW help prepare women in India for careers in engineering. Other opportunities such as the Adobe India Women-in-Technology Scholarship and Rolls-Royce Unnati Scholarships for Women Engineering Students encourage increased participation by women. These initiatives are important steps in helping narrow down the current 5:1 gap between men and women in technical roles.

The lack of confidence in women for excelling in subjects like mathematics is the first pit spot that can be overcome by parental and peer encouragement. Ayyalasomayajula Lalitha, the first woman engineer in India, received guidance from her father before working on the largest dam in India. Other challenges such as work-life balance are gender-neutral and can be achieved through mentorship. Today, organizations realize the importance of women engineers and are taking steps to make the environment more gender neutral.

According to the 9th edition of the India Skills Report (ISR) 2022, problem-solving skills, effective communication, and project experience are crucial attributes for engineering graduates in 2022. With skills such as critical thinking and empathy, women technology leaders have made a significant impact to excel in STEM fields. The Union Budget 2022 highlighted that India will set up a digital university to provide world-class education for students across the country. This digital penetration is a step towards a bright future and provides an opportunity for women to make an informed career choice. This growth can be accelerated further by equipping rural students with internet-enabled phones and hence, bring them into the fold.

Today, diverse engineering streams offer a world of possibilities for upcoming engineering graduates. A few streams that are highly in demand are data science, programming, cloud computing, cybersecurity, Augmented Reality (AR), and Virtual Reality (VR). The engineering landscape is changing, and there is high demand for women engineers across several industries. Now is the time for women to make a career in STEM.

Soundari Arunachalam

Contributed by
Soundari Arunachalam, R&D Director, Honeywell Process Solutions

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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