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How We Got Here: Advice From Women Engineers

2/26/2016 00:01 AM EST
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realjjj
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Re: Advise from a male engineer (for whatever it's worth)
realjjj   2/29/2016 4:24:38 PM
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Nobody should accept a pejorative term like geek. But that's another war, not genre related. Maybe preschool kids should learn about geniuses throughout history, to help them admire relevant people instesd of reality stars but the media culture problem is much broader.

As for the genre divide, it starts with genre specific toys. Even if one could argue about some instinct , we are not animals ,we can rise above instincts. Feels like girls are just steered towards being mothers and wives with dolls, toy houses and princess stories (princess is an euphemism for celeb/gold digger at this point). 3D printing in toys could end up turning girls into makers and narrowing the divide in a major way.

Our society is becoming more and more ridiculous. I was noticing recently how women shoes went from high heels to higher heels and a thick platform in front. Where will that stop? We smile when we see the wigs used hundreds of years ago but modern time shoes,makeup, hair extensions and all kinds of implants are at least as ridiculous. In times of relative peace and excessive economic well-being it seems that we tend to go overboard and devolve.

Jessica Lipsky
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Re: Advise from a male engineer (for whatever it's worth)
Jessica Lipsky   2/29/2016 1:12:45 PM
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This is a good bit of advice and a meditaton on a social norms issue that goes beyond engineering. 

While embracing geekdom is great, I wonder if that's truly the root issue. Or an issue that needs fighting. Are all engineers geeks? Is being a geek a thing anymore? Is it something that adults deal with it once they're established in an engineering career?

Jessica Lipsky
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Re: Advise from a male engineer (for whatever it's worth)
Jessica Lipsky   2/29/2016 1:12:44 PM
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This is a good bit of advice and a meditaton on a social norms issue that goes beyond engineering. 

While embracing geekdom is great, I wonder if that's truly the root issue. Or an issue that needs fighting. Are all engineers geeks? Is being a geek a thing anymore? Is it something that adults deal with it once they're established in an engineering career?

Jessica Lipsky
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Re: Advise from a male engineer (for whatever it's worth)
Jessica Lipsky   2/29/2016 1:12:44 PM
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This is a good bit of advice and a meditaton on a social norms issue that goes beyond engineering. 

While embracing geekdom is great, I wonder if that's truly the root issue. Or an issue that needs fighting. Are all engineers geeks? Is being a geek a thing anymore? Is it something that adults deal with it once they're established in an engineering career?

David Ashton
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Women in Engineering
David Ashton   2/27/2016 5:49:15 PM
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Quote: Jennifer Farah, General Motors interior lighting global technical lead:  "In the end I decided that you can do anything with an engineering degree, but I couldn't do engineering with a marketing degree."

Sage advice indeed.

fundamentals
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Advise from a male engineer (for whatever it's worth)
fundamentals   2/26/2016 12:40:25 PM
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Women have made tremendous strides in entering professions like medicine and law.  But significantly less so in engineering.  This is commonly blamed on male attitudes towards women (and there is some truth in that), but that is not the whole story.  I belive it is not even the major part of the story.

It may surprise you that the major part of the story is related to being "geeky".  Most (but obviously not all) engineers are geeks, and they proudly wear the badge of being a geek.  However, I observed that most women (whether they are engineers or not) have a strong fear of being perceived as geeks.  (I wish I could understand why.  I am a happy geek, and so is my wife.)  I know many female engineers who are proud to be geeks.  They fit well in the profession, and they do well.  Women who are bothered by being perceived as geeks have a tougher time fitting in.  Again it may surprise you that there are many male engineers like that too.  The too experience similar alienation, and many of them eventually move on to project or program management instead of doing technical work.  Some get out of engineering completely.

Here is my two-cents worth of advise to young women who want to become engineers: first ask yourself if you are a geek.  If so, embrace it wholeheartedly and go for an engineering carer.  With hard work and dedication, you will do well, and you will be happy.  On the other hand, if you belive you are not a geek, then ask yourself if being perceived as a geek will bother you.  Also ask yourself, if being surrounded by geeks will bother you.  Many women learn to live with being perceived as geeks even though deep down they believe they are not geeks.  If you are OK with this, then again go for it!  On the other hand, if you decide that you do not wish to be perceived as a geek, then you are unlikley to become a happy engineer, ever.  Perhaps you should consider other careers, such as law or medicine instead.

 

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