Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Women in engineering

I'll try to make the argument here as short as possible because I need to go to bed, but the topic is sure worth a much longer post than this. Why are we not encouraging enough women to pursue engineering careers in Egypt?

The question is not, why is there not enough women in engineering? Or why is Egypt different? The first question is applicable everywhere, not just in Egypt, so Egypt is not that different. Yet ofcourse, like everything, Egypt is a little bit behind so the proportion of women versus men in engineering is much less here than in industrial countries, just like everything else.

But my question is, why are we not promoting and pushing for women in engineering here? Why are all those women rights groups not interested in that? focusing instead on much grander issues, as well as more relevant issues (have to give them that). That is a main difference betweeen us and the rest of the industrialized world. They found that they have an issue with lack of interest between most women in pursuing engineering careers, and they've found that the field would be served well by them, so they're encouraging them to get into engineering careers. Some schools even have quotas that must be filled by female students. They've realized the imbalance and are working hard, researching and thinking of ways to attract more women to the field, balancing the engineering discipline with more women in it.

We; we're debating if a woman can be a judge or not, can be a president or a grand ayatollah or not, and totally forgetting that the poor engineers don't have women partners at work. Alot of the women are not interested in engineering, many others are not interested in work in the first place, many others are forced to stay home, and then those who want to work want to rule or manage the rest of the working men. I'm fine with that actually, but why don't we have some balance and encourage more women to work in that great field of engineering. Its good to jump all those steps ahead, but we need to put equal efforts in those gaps where real productivity should be happening.

Not to mention that its annoying for someone who's looking for an average girl, ehem, who can't find except an airheaded one who has no career prospects, or an over aggressive one studying some political economics theories and thinks she'll change the world.

I don't blame women in Egypt for not wanting to be engineers ofcourse. Who wants to be in a field that is totally underestimated. Who are you next to a businessman whose importing whatever and making tons of money out of it, or next to a fahlawy who knows how to get rich quick and make money out of thin air. Even most male engineering graduates end up working in non-engineering jobs, so we can't blame women for not expecting much out of this field here.

What's even worse is that at some places here they don't hire women engineers. A place I know don't like hiring women because they feel more comfortable having an all-male R&D environment, and they don't want to introduce fitna to the place! Another place has a female engineering manager, who's a friend of mine. I was shocked once when she told me that she doesn't like hiring women because they'll soon get busy with marriage arrangements, then get pregnant, then make use of that 1-hour off policy by law for baby care, and they're all delicate and don't work hard enough. I told her I can't believe she's saying that. You, my aggressive progressive hard-working open-minded friend are saying that about your fellow women!

Yet with all this discouragement, women are getting into engineering in Egypt. It used to be that women in engineering here would look more like men, looks and atittude wise. I guess that was their way, as a minority, to fit in with all those guys surrounding them. But now, its apparently becoming differenet. Remember my anti-Warda, that was a good example of a smart feminine engineer. And these days I'm seeing quite a number of them reasonably feminine female engineers around. And they did it all on their own, no encouragement from anyone, no women advocacy groups helping them, no scholarships from the government, nothing. Well done gals, and keep it up.

Ok, no comments about how all this is to serve my interests please!


Mohammed said...

"no comments about how all this is to serve my interests please!"
احم احم

roora said...

Kol dah and short :))

It is not as you think , people who prove themselves are good engineers can advance their careers
my mom is an engineer, and she is taking the research field long time ago and her colleagues as well and they were moving in their career, but i feel it is tough for them

Even I , my parents were encouraging me to enter Faculty of engineering , but it didn't work

But I found later that some of my colleagues were arguing me that it is a tough college and in the future tough work and not every girl or woman can handle to go to labs and factories and stand with labors

roora said...

"Ok, no comments about how all this is to serve my interests please"

what do you mean ?

Me said...

Been reading your blog for quite a while... must say I enjoy it .. even when I don't agree with you... even when you shock me ... I still enjoy it!!! But I never commented... don't know why really... but this post... I just have to... I know what you're talking about in the "not hiring" issue ...faced it quite a number of times while trying to look for jobs ... I'd find this " Gender: Male" staring at my face :-/ ( especially in the Civil engineering field)... whereas when I'd apply to teach in Centres or schools .. ya salaaam.. I'd be more than welcome .... I haven't been in Egypt for long ... and I won't give up and I'll keep looking isA... I've worked as an engineer back where I was and I loved it... isA some day soon I'll be able to do that here as well... wish me luck :-)

PS. Funny how your female engineering manager thinks... is she married? Or planning to get married some day? I wonder what she'd say then ?

كــــــلام said...

Well, i study Arhcitectural Engineering , the departements scores the highest rate in girls' numbers compared to other departements..almost half and half.
on the other hand ,one of my friends is the ONLY girl in marine engineering departement , and shes treated like an alien ,everybody is passing her the messege-in a way or another of "what the hell has brought you her?"
Relatively many girls study electronics ,too. But you dont find them more clever than their fellow guys, i wonder why.
Girls "are known" for being more patient , and they can stand office work , more than guy, so they are usually hired , when it comes to CAD technician jobs, or any computer tasks that requires hours in working in the same place.
An engineer girl working in a site, has to bear it alllll..starting from the harrasement (even of shes not pretty, the idea of having a female charachter around the site, seems to turn everybody on) of the all labours, and other fellow male engineers..but guess it is the same all over , you dont find many girls in architecture departents(one of my friends studies in canada, they've got one girl out of 30)..and same for offices , i have had some office tours in US.. i hardly met a female architect..SHAME
P.S : this is my longest reply ever..,ma3lesh :)

roora said...

Me, I am happy to see you here because I was thinking of you when i read this post because you are an enginer ,

" . even when you shock me ... "
I agree with you Me :)

haal said...

'even when you shock me.'

Yes Mo. You shock me a lot. TeRRible TeRRible. YOu are no ORDINARY egyptian.

So, why are you still single. Want to marry an engineer? We know you dont want a veiled (sorta)....

Lasto-adri *Blue* said...

hay mo7amed, i am already a femal engineer.. i study electrical engineerig in my last years now.

and due my experience i'd tell you:
1. the conventional attitude of the society let the girls who are intending to study engineering.
(my self i've been blamed zillion times from all my relative for going a faculty dominated and rued by guys, and i still wonder why!)

2. the attitude inside the faculty itself is not encoraging at ALL. the guys look at girls with some sort of condesending, or inferiority.. and i am sorry to say that i almost hate most of my fellow mate mates.

3. you said:"What's even worse is that at some places here they don't hire women engineers"
and how so very true, i've met that myself zillion times.

4. the girls' attitude itself.
tell me how many would like to return back home after 8 all week long?! and what about her kids and the house demands?!
so she got 2 options:
wether to work in the governmental sector, which is by any means do not represent her capabilities as a good engineer.
or she'd stay home!

yet, on the other hand, some femal engineers (including me) after we stay for sometime in the collage, we discovere, there wasnt our proper place....

hope i made my point clear.. and excellent article !

MoonLightShadow said...

This is true?!! Female engineers are not preferred?!

I’m not an engineer, but it was one of my options, but I didn’t feel like going there. But, if I chose going to engineering, one of the main reasons would have been proving to other people that girls can be good engineers, and to prove that there is nothing called this faculty isn’t for girls. I don’t like to hear that! And I don’t like it when I find that there are certain jobs for males only!!

But it’s some kind of an equation, if there are job vacancies that accept girls, then more girls will go to engineering. If there are limited job vacancies for women engineers, girls will be less motivated to be engineers! Which comes first?!

Abu Sinan said...

Women do a great job. I hire engineers here in the USA and we need more of them. Many supervisors would actually rather work with women engineers.

Squido said...

Please switch on your sense of humor before reading this:

No! They should all hide at home and wrapped tons of black cloths around themselves that they resemble a large wooly ball !!!!

3 cheers for MCP!!!

Alina said...

Hey, Mo, you can have lots of woman-engineers imported from Romania! There are lots of them in all fields! :) Even I am doing and engineer's work (or not) as my position is "technical support engineer" :)

Anonymous said...

Hi.nice blog.I am fresh jobseeker.please help me that where can i get
links of free job posts sites.
Thank you.....

Esraa Ali said...

Really I agree with you and their are many many women engineers who also believe in the need to have such an activity.... so we are founding what is called IEEE Affinity Group in Egypt that its name is by coincidence the same title of your article...Women In Engineering we will have our official lunch in the Egyptian Engineering Day
I invite you and all your readers to come and share your thoughts and ideas ... wait to see you their...

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