It’s tragicomic that I felt ambivalent about deciding to write through which perspective. Should I be writing as a blogger where I would need to be neutral and merely aim to introduce the Society of Women Engineers? Or as a woman who feels the necessity to fill this blank white paper with the sufferings women are going through? I decided that it would be unfair to all the women out there to suppress my feminine voice and write entirely through a third voice. So I would like to start by apologizing in case my words go a little beyond just introducing the Society of Women Engineers.
Why specifically the Society of “Women” Engineers?
There are plenty of people arguing against societies that specifically aim to support women. However, have these people also heard of these statistics that the SWE has compiled?
- Only 13% of engineers are women.
- Female engineers earn 10% less than male engineers.
- 61% of women engineers report that they have to prove themselves repeatedly to get the same level of respect and recognition as their colleagues.
To find these statistics and more you can check out this link.
Since childhood, parents try to shape their children according to what society expects them to behave like. In plain English, boys are expected to play with cars and girls to play with dolls. Consequently, they try to avoid going into the fields that they believe to be masculine, e.g., engineering. However, some characteristics of engineers include being creative, having problem-solving, and logical thinking skills. According to the studies cognitive researchers conducted, these characteristics are nearly displaying themselves equally in both genders. In other words, believing that engineering suits men more is nothing more than a misbelief.
What is the aim of the Society of Women Engineers?
Engineering is a form of creativity that plays a crucial role in shaping the world we live in. Why should shaping our habitat be more than 80% in the hands of only half of the population? Can you take a moment to imagine an earth reshaped by the hands of both women and men together?
The Society of Women Engineers aims to enable half of the population that is left behind to build a better society. Firstly, to achieve this, SWE encourages and supports women to take a step outside of their comfort zone. Moreover, make them realize that every challenge is another chance to develop into a better version of themselves.
Secondly, for changes and improvements to come, an adequate level of awareness should be reached. To arrive at this level of consciousness, the Society of Women Engineers holds various activities that aim to motivate the community to reconsider the perceptions they have of women.
A speech from the president of the Society of Women Engineers
There would be something lacking in this blog without hearing some words from the president of the SWE, Yara Toaimah. I want to show my sincere appreciation to both the president and the members of the SWE at METU, Northern Cyprus Campus on behalf of people who are also trying to have a hand in this revolutionary change. Now I would like to leave the words to Yara Toaimah:
“Emma Watson said, and I quote, “If not us, who? If not now, when?” Our society is centered around a passion for our members’ success and continues to make headway with the challenges and opportunities reflected in today’s exhilarating engineering and technology professions.”
What has the Society of Women Engineers done so far?
Despite being newly established, SWE is home to ambitious members who are eager to revive a revolutionary soul. This revitalization is apparent even in the very first activities. “A Talk With Our Professors” arranged a platform for professors from various departments where they answered questions about the challenges they faced and ways they overcome them in their journey.
Moreover, “Walk With Us” and “Movie Night” were the activities SWE arranged for the International Women’s Day. Hidden Figures, the movie chosen for the Movie Night, portrayed the racial and gender discrimination that the three female African-American mathematicians, who were playing a vital role in astronaut John Glenn’s launch into orbit, had to deal with at work. “Walk With Us” encouraged students to march from the gym to METU Square, raising awareness for the International Women’s day.
You can watch this video that introduces the SWE and sums up the activities done so far.
What are some upcoming activities?
Malcolm X once said,
“The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.”
There are two different types of goals for societies, which are short and long term goals. The short term goals are the ones that serve to accomplish the long term ones. As I mentioned above, in the long term, SWE aims to empower women. However, it should not be a surprise that changing human perceptions and behaviors requires awareness, acceptance, time, and effort.
As for their short term goals, SWE aims to organize activities that focus on changing the way society views women. Besides the societal biases, women unconsciously develop self-doubt and set low goals because of the discriminations they are exposed to since their childhood. For this reason, SWE also aims to encourage women to involve themselves in various platforms and have their own voice.
Events also include debates in collaboration with the Animal Welfare Society (AWS) – a discourse on engineering as a profession and how it can be different if more women are involved. Moreover, the collaboration with the AWS targets to raise money for them by organizing a cycling trip. This will help in drawing attention to the SWE, which will lead to more people hearing their voice in their upcoming activities.
To finalize my words, the Society of Women Engineers has a vision that extends beyond the university’s borders. Consequently, the activities that SWE organizes also need to grab the attention of the society outside the campus. For this reason, any recommendations or ideas that would come from you, as a reader, would be deeply appreciated. Moreover, if you have any further questions regarding the SWE, don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments section below.
Thank you for reading!