What are the best engineering fields for girls? The bigger question is why do you want to know that? Why is there no question like: What are the best engineering fields for boys? Do girls lack talent? Are girls devoid of problem-solving skills? No, right? Then what is the issue? Why should a girl chose a field in the light of being a girl, and not being a brilliant student? Why does a girl need to think of her marriage and responsibilities even before she chooses her academic path? In my opinion, the only problem is the prevalent mind-set in our culture. Unless this problem (or should I say epidemic) is cured, the answers will remain muddled.
Throughout their educational career, from nursery to graduation, girls study hard and manage to clear all exams with flying colors. After graduation many want to be professional and put forth all that hard work into reality. The "REAL" challenge begins then, i.e. being girls, can they work professionally in their fields of graduation? So many girls have to hear unwelcome suggestions of the like: “You should do a job in school because you are a girl and you cannot work in a male dominated office.”
Dwelling in this fast-paced high-tech world, it is quite the right time that girls, based on their interests step forward to choose engineering, and especially within the engineering field that allures them most. Girls across Pakistan have started to realize that they can do anything and they do not lack talent! Here are few examples of Pakistani girls who have chosen their field not under societal influence but in the light of their brilliance and competencies.
Can a girl become a professional Aeronautical Engineer? The answer might just be as simple as no. When you think of an Aeronautical Engineer, an image of a boy must be formed in your mind. Let me unravel that image and introduce you to this Aeronautical Engineer who is not a boy. Maria Shahzad with her love for planes is proving herself as an Aeronautical Engineer. After graduating from College of Aeronautical Engineering, Risalpur, she is now working in Airblue Airline as an Aeronautical Engineer. She endures night shifts, extra hard work, and stays strong.
Ayesha Imtiaz has always been a top scorer like many girls are during their study years. She graduated from University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore. But unlike many girls, Ayesha Imtiaz is not wasting her expertise and not giving up on her endeavors. She has overcome her so called girlish fear and has become a Performance Engineer at General Electric, Saif Power Plant, Sahiwal, Pakistan.
They say a girl cannot be a Site Engineer. When asked why, they do not give a specific reply. That blunt reply which stems out of the mist revolves around: this is not our culture, site job is tough, there are only men at site, freshness of a girl is affected, she has to marry soon, what people will say, etc. This type of talk has caused many talented girls to be dormant and has ruined countless careers. But this daunting drill of defining fields for girls might not be able to stop those with courage, perseverance, and determination. After graduating from Mehran University of Engineering and Technology (MUET) when Kiran Sadhwani developed her love towards tech, she wanted to be a Site Engineer. She not only faced opposition from her immediate family but also from her Thari community of Tharparker. Instead of giving up on her dreams, she decided to withstand the odds and stood firm for her aims. She has become Engineer in Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC), at Thar Coal Project.
The above are but few examples of girls thinking and working out of the box. The point is that there is no field yet devised which can be genuinely gender-specific. Girls stay confused and do lots of calculations before they pursue any field. The time has come that girls choose fields and jobs that they want to, even if these careers are notoriously known to be men-only domains. Girls, we must recognize our responsibility in creating a better path for other, forth-coming girls.
So ladies, after knowing the above mentioned engineers, you need not worry anymore. Just overcome your own suspicions and jump right in. You must live your life as per your potential, instead of opting to teach at school at somebody else's opinion, or doing literally nothing at home. Choose a field that lets you dive into the ocean of brilliance. Choose a career that lets you unleash you potential.
Engr. Ayesha Alam Khurram
Be brave to challenge the norm you can’t digest.