While Beyoncé may sing, 'Who run the world, Girls!' I'm singing, 'Who run the engineering world, Women!' Well, at least that's true at Cubic. Here we are lucky to be part of a global organisation; as such, I wanted to take advantage of that and hear what our awesome female engineers had to say around the globe regarding why they choose engineering as their career.
Susan Margro, Senior Solutions and Systems Engineering Director, US
"STEM stereotypes are perpetuated from a young age, and social media and pop culture offer limited role models for young girls who may want to pursue a career in the space. While we see slight improvements thanks to films like Hidden Figures, the fact that I can only name one mainstream movie shows we still have a long way to go.
Engineering has enabled me to work with a global team, examine wide-reaching transit and mobility challenges and create solutions to help improve customers' transit journeys around the world. I was lucky enough to build my career at an inclusive organization that has acknowledged gender disparity as an issue and has expressed its commitment to change this.
To help buck the stereotypes and start driving diversity in STEM, I recommend companies with established engineering programs partner with local schools and universities to foster women in engineering. Organizations should also diversify their hiring practices and ensure all employees are being promoted and rewarded based on skill and merit, not gender and 'who they know.'
If I could give one piece of advice to girls and women interested in engineering, it would be don't hesitate because it is currently a male-dominated industry. Women bring diversity to engineering industries that can help solve problems faster and more effectively. Innovation comes from change, so be the change. Change starts with you."
Lalitha Ande, Senior Systems Engineer, UK
"This International Women in Engineering Day, we need to help women see that there's a career path here for them.
Initiatives can come from anywhere and start as early in the process as recruiting by removing gender-specific words in the job description, as well as ambiguous words and descriptions like 'may require traveling.' These references tend to put off women from applying. Today, companies need to engage with schools and universities to give insight into the engineering work being done. For instance, they can organize virtual tours to give female students an inside look at engineers' day to day.
Even though this profession may be male-dominated as we sit here today, there are numerous opportunities to develop personally and professionally for women of all creeds and color. There are many schemes available in companies to encourage and support women who are eager to advance their careers, but there is still work to be done. Being a woman in engineering focused on technology that makes a difference in people's lives is a constantly rewarding experience, whether it's telecommunication, medical, or transportation. I hope we can do a better job at helping young girls see that."
Katie Busch-Sorensen, Project Engineering Director, US
"As engineers working in the transit industry, every problem we solve and every product we build has a major impact on cities around the world. I enjoy seeing projects evolve from small group brainstorming sessions into fully-fledged, designed solutions that end up being used by transit agencies and millions of people around the world. Unlike teachers or doctors, our efforts improve the lives of people we'll never meet.
International Women in Engineering Day reminds us that showing girls how fun and rewarding engineering is can make a huge difference in the sector's diversity. We really need a societal shift in how we encourage and bring up girls from a young age. Let's give our girls all the tools early and expose them to all that's possible.
The process starts with us. As female engineers, we need to be fearless. We must contribute to discussions, and we can't be afraid to ask questions when we don't know the answer. We should strive to be proactive and research everything we can first. And we can't forget that failure is a badge of honor and is an indicator that each one of us is learning valuable lessons in our careers."
Ana Budica, Senior Systems Test Engineer, UK
"I've always been interested in engineering from a young age and have the urge to work on multiple things at the same time. At Cubic, this is exactly what I get to do, and I thrive in this environment. Let's take ITSO as an example. I am currently the ITSO SME in which my responsibilities are: to make sure that all the new software releases are ITSO capable, manually creating cards, sending action list/ hotlist messages, replacing and renewing the ISAM's, investigate and find solutions and fix any ITSO related issues on devices, train other individuals, helping the software engineers to investigate defects and find ITSO related solutions. I also need to do stakeholder management and work with other teams to ensure deliverables are met on time.
But that's just one project; there are numerous others I work on or have worked on, which means it's never a dull moment."
Jibin Rachel George, Software Engineer, Germany
"I believe the impact Cubic makes is enormous in terms of Product and Technology Development in the transportation industry for us to create better and convenient life for the people. Being a Software Engineer in Cubic, I get to be an integral part of this journey. I chose to be in this field because it is so broad and encompasses various roles related to both computer applications and systems. At Cubic, I get the chance to collaborate with experts using several technologies. I love how Cubic embraces diversity and promotes international teams."
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Krishna Desai is global marketing manager of Cubic Transportation Systems