Empowering women in engineering

  • Industry News
  • Sep 14,23
When women are empowered in engineering, the industry benefits from a broader talent pool and a wealth of fresh ideas. Hence, on World Engineers Day (September 15), let us commit to empowering women in engineering, says Sujata Bandyopadhyay.
Empowering women in engineering

In the realm of manufacturing and engineering, diversity is a catalyst for innovation. As we celebrate World Engineers Day, it's crucial to recognise that empowering women in engineering is not just an aspiration; it's an imperative. The gender balance in engineering has been shifting, but we must continue to break down barriers and build a more inclusive, equitable, and diverse engineering community. At Ansys, a global leader in engineering simulation, we are committed to fostering an environment where women thrive in engineering. I want to share our insights on this critical journey.

The power of diversity
Diversity is often lauded as a moral imperative, and rightly so, but it's also a powerful driver of innovation. Engineering challenges are complex, and bringing together individuals from different backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences leads to more creative and effective solutions. When women are empowered in engineering, the industry benefits from a broader talent pool and a wealth of fresh ideas.

The current landscape
While we have made significant progress in recent years, much work remains to be done. According to the Statista report, female representation in technology companies and tech teams is 20 percent of the Indian workforce. These numbers are quite similar worldwide. While some fields have made more substantial strides towards gender equality, engineering remains one of the most male-dominated. We must actively address the gender gap in engineering to realise our profession's full potential.

Barriers to entry
To empower women in engineering, we must first understand their challenges. Several barriers contribute to the underrepresentation of women in the field:
  1. Societal stereotypes: From a young age, girls are often discouraged from pursuing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) subjects. Stereotypes persist, suggesting that these fields are not suited for women, which can deter them from considering engineering as a career.
  2. Lack of role models: The scarcity of female engineering role models can make it difficult for girls to envision themselves in the field. Seeing more women in leadership positions and prominent roles in engineering can inspire the next generation.
  3. Workplace culture: Engineering has traditionally been male-dominated, leading to workplace cultures that may not be welcoming to women. Addressing issues related to harassment, bias, and unequal opportunities is crucial.
  4. Work-life balance: The demands of an engineering career can be challenging, and women often bear the brunt of family responsibilities. Employers must provide flexible work arrangements and support systems to help women balance their professional and personal lives.

Empowering women in engineering: A shared responsibility
Empowering women in engineering is not solely the responsibility of women; it's a collective effort that requires action from individuals, educational institutions, and industries.

Here are some strategies to make a difference:
  1. Inspire young minds: Encourage girls to pursue STEM subjects through outreach programs, mentorships, and exposure to female engineers who can serve as role models.
  2. Educational initiatives: Support initiatives that promote gender equality in engineering education. Scholarships, grants, and programs specifically designed for women in engineering can help break down financial and educational barriers.
  3. Diverse hiring practices: Companies should actively seek diversity in their hiring processes. Diverse teams are more innovative and better equipped to tackle complex engineering challenges.
  4. Inclusive workplace culture: Create a supportive work environment that values diversity and promotes inclusion. Training programs, diversity and inclusion committees, and zero-tolerance policies for discrimination are essential.
  5. Flexible work arrangements: Offer flexible work options that accommodate family responsibilities and provide opportunities for career advancement.
  6. Leadership development: Invest in leadership development programs for women in engineering. Building a strong pipeline of female leaders is essential for long-term change.

The Ansys approach
At Ansys, we are committed to empowering women in engineering. We actively participate in STEM outreach programs, providing educational resources to inspire young girls to pursue careers in engineering. We have established partnerships with organisations dedicated to advancing women in STEM fields. Additionally, we continually strive to create an inclusive work environment that celebrates diversity and promotes equal opportunities.

As a global leader in engineering simulation, we recognise that innovation thrives in an environment that embraces diversity. Our solutions empower engineers to tackle the world's most complex challenges, from designing sustainable infrastructure to developing cutting-edge technologies. Embracing diversity within our company enhances our ability to innovate and deliver value to our customers.

On World Engineers Day, let us commit to empowering women in engineering. It is a matter of social justice and a strategic imperative for the industry. Diversity drives innovation, and by breaking down barriers and creating inclusive environments, we can ensure that engineering continues to advance and address the pressing challenges of our time. Together, we can build a future where women are fully empowered to contribute their talents and expertise to the engineering field and where the engineering community benefits from their invaluable contributions.

About the author:
Sujata Bandyopadhyay is the Director of Technical Support for India and South Asia Pacific region, Ansys. She has been with Ansys for the last 24 years in various technical roles as part of the Ansys Customer Excellence Team which enabled her to work across multiple industries including automotive, chemical, process, metal, oil & gas, aerospace, pharmaceutical, and industrial equipment. In recent times, she has been focusing on using the latest technologies, and processes to bring excellence and transformation in customer experiences. She is also leading the Women in Technology ERG initiative for the Ansys APAC region.

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