Corporations, organizations, and universities are gearing up to celebrate International Women in Engineering Day on June 23, 2022. Founded by The Women’s Engineering Society (WES), International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) is the yearly clarion call to spread awareness about the work and achievements of women in the engineering industry. Since WES’ inception in 1919, it has and continues to follow its mission to:
- Women: Support women to achieve their potential as engineers, applied scientists, and leaders and to reward excellence.
- Education: Encourage and promote the education, study, and application of engineering.
- Sustainability: Work with organizations, and influencers, to promote gender diversity and equality in the workplace and sustain the historic legacy and future effectiveness of the Women’s Engineering Society (inwed, 2022).
Why have a day to celebrate women in engineering?
Some may ask why we need a day to celebrate women in engineering. Although it is clear women work in a variety of capacities once belonging to the domain of men, it is also clear that women are woefully underrepresented in some industries, particularly engineering.
There are many reasons, varying theories, and frequent speculation about why women are underrepresented in the engineering field. For example:
- Persistent stereotypes about women being inferior to men in math and science still lead to self-fulfilling prophecies
- Sexual harassment and hostile working environments exist in many industries
- Females receive lower pay than their male counterparts for the same
- Young girls are often not encouraged or supported in math and the sciences
- Young girls lack role models in STEM industries
There is no one answer to the persistent lack of women in STEM careers. Fortunately, many individuals are devoting their careers to empowering women in the sciences. These advocates understand the world needs diversity among its scientists, engineers, and technologists working to make our personal and professional lives easier, healthier, and more productive.
A Nationwide Challenge
One long-term solution to the nationwide challenge of not enough qualified and trained individuals to fill the plethora of having STEM positions available is to introduce STEM topics to girls at an early age and encourage more women into the field. Cultivating a love of STEM starting in childhood is far easier than many would imagine.
Children are inherently experiential learners. They are curious about how things feel, how things work, and how they can interact with their surroundings. Capitalizing on children’s innate ability to investigate while creating a positive learning environment in which they feel safe exploring is essential to instilling a love of STEM.
The following tips may help in thinking about how to engage kids in STEM topics:
- Do not give in to the stereotype that girls are not good at math or science
- This stereotype is damaging for many reasons, but perhaps the saddest is that it can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy. When girls implicitly and explicitly receive repeated messages that they are not able to succeed in math and science, they believe those messages.
- Research fun engineering projects, toys, or games for kids
- Plank sets, circuit boards, solar kits, and robots are just a few of the hundreds of projects, toys, and games available for kids. Playing is learning, and when introducing these kinds of activities to young girls, one is helping them to make positive associations with STEM.
- Encourage hands-on, experiential learning.
- No book gives a child the feeling of staring into a shark’s eyes, the sense of touching a starfish, or the sound of a lion’s roar. Bringing children out into the world, especially to museums, aquariums, or zoos, can foster a love of experiential learning. Also, the interactive elements of educational components in these settings are geared toward all learning styles.
- Relate everyday experiences to STEM topics
- One does not have to look far for examples of STEM concepts in daily life. The math of banking, the science of cooking, the technology of computers – it is all right here. Teaching kids STEM concepts necessary for engaging in daily life is a terrific way to spark a love of STEM.
- Focus less on grades
- Both boys and girls struggle with mastering STEM concepts. Often students lose interest in what they are learning if they are not getting the grades they would like. Providing a safe learning atmosphere, and placing more emphasis on learning and less on grades, helps keep students interested in STEM topics.
The more girls are encouraged and supported in learning about STEM, particularly engineering, the more likely they will continue studying throughout their education, ideally graduating and finding their place in an economy that is increasingly dependent upon their skill and expertise.
2022 Theme and Ways to Celebrate
This year’s theme for International Women’s Day in Engineering is “Inventors and Innovators” - #ImaginetheFuture. Celebrations and events will focus on the work women engineers are doing around the world in mechanical, electrical, software, firmware, aerospace, civil, and chemical engineering. There are a host of ways corporations, organizations, and universities can plan to celebrate International Women in Engineering Day, such as:
- Acknowledge female engineers by spotlighting them on a website, blog, or social media
- Support their professional development by sending them to training and conferences
- Create a webinar to highlight the contributions and accomplishments of female engineers
- Post a photo on social media using the hashtag - #ImaginetheFuture
- Organize a meal to celebrate the female engineers on your
Celebrating Kettering University’s Women in Engineering
The following are just a handful of the Kettering University alumnae who, some time ago, also imagined a future in which they would play a vital role in making the world safer, easier to navigate, and more enjoyable.
- Mary Barra (’85, Electrical Engineering), Chairman and CEO of General Motors
- Wendy Bauer (’98, Electrical Engineering/Mechanical Engineering), Global Director, Automotive Sales of Amazon Web Services
- Pamela Fletcher (’89, Mechanical Engineering), Vice President of Global Innovation at General Motors
- Denise Gray (’86, Electrical Engineering), President of LG Chem Michigan
- Jennifer Johnson (‘99, Mechanical Engineering), CEO of Kendrick Plastics
- Heather Klish (’02, Mechanical Engineering), Vice President of Manufacturing, Continuous Improvement and Integration at BorgWarner
- Vickie Piner (’89, Industrial Engineering), Global Vice President of Quality, E-Systems at Lear Corp.
- Jamie Zinser (’99, Mechanical Engineering), Chief Technology Officer at Global Automotive Systems
This impressive list reflects the commitment Kettering University and Kettering University Online have toward creating leaders who show the drive and determination to solve real-world problems.
Kettering University Online
If you have a desire to catapult your career, consider enrolling in one of the KUO graduate programs.
KUO’s graduate programs challenge students through academically rigorous discussions and assignments, supporting students to refine their communication skills, expand their ability to critically analyze situations, and develop their ability to consider diverse viewpoints and solutions. We offer:
- MS Applied Data Science and Data Analytics
- MS Lean Manufacturing
- MS Operations Management
- MS Supply Chain Management
- MS Engineering Management
- MS Engineering: Electrical & Computer Engineering-Advanced Mobility
At KUO, our students master academic content, are challenged to stretch beyond their comfort zone, and are empowered to:
- Demonstrate sound leadership and lead by example
- Communicate effectively with teams and leadership
- Facilitate a variety of managerial processes
- See the big picture and motivate others to do the same
- Be bold and take risks
Whether you have a simple question or need more information to determine which KUO graduate program is best for you, visit Kettering University Online to learn more or reach out to one of our Admissions Advisors. Admissions Advisors can answer questions about admission and program requirements, tuition rates, and course descriptions. They can also help you complete the admissions application.