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 introduce the Society of Women Engineers? Or as a woman who feels the necessity to fill this blank white paper with the setbacks women are going through? I decided that it would be unfair to all the women to suppress my feminine voice and write entirely through a third voice. So I would like to start by apologizing if 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 https://alltogether.swe.org/2018/09/swe-research-update-women-in-engineering-by-the-numbers/.
Since childhood, parents try to shape their children according to what society expects of their behaviours. In plain English, boys are expected to play with cars and girls to play with barbies. Consequently, they try to avoid going into the fields 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, 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? Could you please take a moment and imagine the earth reshaped in the hands of both women and men together?
The Society of Women Engineers aims to gain half of the population left behind to build a better society. Firstly, to succeed 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, we should reach an adequate level of awareness. To arrive at this level of consciousness, the Society of Women Engineers holds various activities that aim to motivate the community to reconsider women’s perceptions.
A speech from the president
There would be something lacking in this blog without hearing some words from the SWE president, Yara Toaimah. I want to show my sincere appreciation to both the president and the SWE members 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 centred 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 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 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 played 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: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1SuAQq4ZC73YQWCWizQ155q_co938UWSE/view?usp=sharing.
What are the activities that the Society is looking forward to performing soon?
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 once that serve to accomplish the long term once. 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 society’s views of women. Besides society, unconsciously, women also have low vision for themselves. This is mainly because of the discriminations that society exposed them to since their childhood. For this reason, SWE also aims to encourage women to get involved in various platforms and have their voice.
Few examples of activities that will play a role in accomplishing these short-term goals are a debate and collaboration with the Animal Welfare Society. The debate will focus on what if engineering, the line of work, was lead by women. 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. Consequently, this 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 borders. Consequently, the activities that SWE organizes 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 comment section.