It’s Women’s Month this August in South Africa and WomEng is proud to be celebrating the power of women in engineering! Inspired by our trademark pink hard hat, we are celebrating the stereotypes we are often branded with.
The symbol of our #1MillionGirlsinSTEM is the pink hard hat, taking a common-place artifact representing the traditionally male-dominated industry and “feminising” it. The philosophy behind the pink hard hat is to fight a stereotype with a stereotype and therein change the age-old perception of the engineering industry.
Celebrating My Stereotypes
Looking back at my personal experience while working as an engineer and even while studying engineering, I encountered many stereotypes as a woman in a male-dominated space. The split second surprised look on the face of our male client when I was acknowledged as the engineer and project lead is one of my most memorable. The “oh-so-you-are-not-just-here-to-take notes” look often followed me into engineering meetings where I was the only young-female engineer.
As a consultant engineer, I also remember making a concious decision to wear dresses and heels to work regularly as is not considered the norm for female engineers to dress up - “Oh, you’re an engineer. Lucky you, that you can dress in jeans and sneakers like one of the guys”. The advice once given to me was “wear flat shoes so that you can keep up with the walking pace of the guys”.
Working with WomEng full time over the last year and even during my 6 years of volunteering has been truly life changing. WomEng helped me grow the confidence needed to not hide away from the stereotypes; rather to celebrate my individuality. Everyday, I get the opportunity to help more women do the same and so this is a month of celebrating the uniqueness we bring to the industry! Don’t fit it. Stand out.
Our Mission in August
At WomEng, we will be sharing daily stories of amazing women in engineering that are proud of celebrating and breaking the stereotypes they are often faced with. Stay tuned for a month of inspiration. Happy Women's Month!
Aditi Lachman, WomEng Lead Programme Coordinator
If you would like to feature in this month's campaign, email us at email@example.com