Spotlighting our female engineers for International Women in Engineering Day 2021
International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) began in the UK in 2014 as a national campaign from the Women’s Engineering Society. The Women’s Engineering Society is an English charity, founded in 1919 at the end of the First World War, when women who had been employed in technical fields found it difficult, if not impossible, to continue working as engineers.
Since then, INWED has grown enormously, receiving UNESCO patronage in 2016 and going truly global the following year. In honor of INWED, we’re putting the spotlight on some of our female engineers, asking why they think female representation in engineering is important, what they love about their roles and what advice they have for aspiring female engineers.
“I will always remember the day I walked into one of my first college engineering courses, ‘Electronics for Wireless Systems’ – there were 42 guys seated in that class, one other girl and then me. I knew it was going to be male-dominated, but didn’t expect the gender ratio to be that extreme. It had its challenges; in group projects the guys would always want to take charge and push their ideas. It taught me to speak up and defend my designs though, and more than once we ended up moving forward with the ideas that I brought to the table. I encourage young women interested in engineering and STEM to persevere and get out of their comfort zones. We need a diverse set of minds to solve problems and drive innovation. In the words of Dr Marguerite Rawalt: “The world needs scientists and engineers — and if a brain is qualified to do such work, it should be encouraged, not smothered because it is a female brain.”
“Being a female engineer has enriched my life with a lot of interesting things and exciting challenges. I am a big fan of sci-fi, which is the main motivation for me to pursue science and engineering. I feel honored to step into the engineering profession and my current focus is big data processing, smart building and machine learning. The engineering profession has helped me to keep up with cutting-edge technologies. In addition to the domain knowledge and skills acquired during work, I have often dived into Coursera to learn new technologies. I recommend the young and aspiring female engineers stay curious and keep learning. Having more females entering into STEM careers is crucial for the whole industry, as diverse and inclusive workplaces foster new ideas and innovation.”
“I love being an engineer because of the opportunities to work on complex projects that require creative problem-solving, collaboration and that touch on a variety of disciplines. More importantly, I enjoy being able to make an impact in our work by saving energy, reducing emissions, or creating a better experience within the built environment. I was fortunate to be raised by intelligent, successful women who gave me the courage to step up and have a voice where few women did. To all younger female engineers, keep being curious, learning and asking questions. Our industry will only improve if we continue to foster a variety of voices to solve the complex challenges we face.”
“Seeing more female engineers entering our industry is really encouraging, and I’m confident that highlighting the diversity that currently exists in our space will help create more diversity moving forward. I would tell aspiring engineers to foster their enthusiasm for solving problems, creating things and being tenacious. Showing these strengths may not always be easy nor enjoyable, but they are rewarding in the long term. I see engineering as an important field because, in the words of Seth Godin, we’re “making things better by making better things.” A great resource is the Society of Women Engineers and would encourage any young female engineers to sign up and get networking.”
It’s an exciting time at Switch as we continue to expand our global presence through customer success, business development and brand awareness. Our engineering team is growing at a rapid pace – check out our current vacancies in the U.S., APAC and more.