According to Engineers Australia’s Women in Engineering report, 48 per cent of Australia’s workforce are female, yet only 13 per cent of the engineering profession are female. This has to change.
“Being a woman in any male-dominated industry is daunting. It is hard to muster up the courage to voice our ideas and to have them heard equally,” Grace Brown, co-founder at Andromeda and Vogue Codes Future Innovators award winner for 2021, posted on LinkedIn for International Women’s Day this year.
Brown makes up the 16 per cent of female Australian engineering graduates and an even smaller minority of female entrepreneurs working in robotics.
“I hope to inspire future generations of female entrepreneurs in tech by transparently sharing the humble beginnings of my early-stage robotics startup and by providing a more holistic perspective to the field of robotics.”
Inspiring future engineers is also high on Michelle Foo’s agenda. As a Graduate Environmental Engineer at Water Corporation in Perth, Foo believes there needs to be a clearer message to school-age girls about the potential engineering career paths.
“There are many things that engineers can do that we don’t often realise. Whether that’s combating climate change, leading to sustainability outcomes, addressing flood management,” she says.
These opinions are reflected in Engineers Australia’s Women in Engineering research, revealing that girls have little awareness of what engineering involves and view it as a male-dominated industry — all barriers to girls studying engineering.
Justine Romanis, National Manager for Professional Diversity and STEM at Engineers Australia, sits down with engineering graduates Brown and Foo to discuss what is needed to change the perception of engineering.