Well it’s been a while since I’ve been here! It’s been hectic; trying to joggle too may things and figuring out some other things! I guess to be honest as well I haven’t felt like writing. Maybe I just wasn’t inspired by anything. That was until an hour ago when I saw an ad that touched on a very important issue I believe in so very deeply.
First let me admit something and dare I say I am not ashamed of it! I am a sucker for ads that truly touch people. You’ve definitely seen a lot of those and the marketing industry is getting smarter by the minute in targeting people’s emotions. It makes me feel bad because I feel manipulated into buying a product. But regardless of their intentions, sometimes ads are so realistic that one has to allow one’s self to feel moved or admit that there’s a real issue without the urge to want to buy the product.
Having said that you may have already seen this one from Always with the hash tag #LikeAGirl.
That ad took me back in time two years ago when a group of women in my industry were breaking stereotypes on female engineers. A campaign was launched on twitter #ILookLikeAnEngineer after a woman engineer participated in an ad for her company and people thought she didn’t look like an engineer. The campaign was amazing and I still remember twitter was on fire! Women engineers were posting pictures of themselves holding signs with this hash tag and a description of their work. Girl Power!
We’re in 2017, I think it’s ridiculous that women should still need to prove that they are not stupid or shallow! That they can so maths and sciences. That pink may not necessarily be their favourite colour. That they can be into sports and cars. I think women have done more than enough to show that doing things “like a girl” is just the same as saying ” doing things like a normal, hard working, determined human being”.
Last week I met a guy who was very sweet and nice but unfortunately he thought the sentence “Wow, you don’t look like an engineer” was a compliment. I was personally shocked because I didn’t think that people still think that way anymore. Sadly they do.
A while ago I was in a meeting with other women with our ex-group CEO. We were discussing the gap between men and women in engineering when he said that he thinks there is one thing that will always keep women behind in this business if it’s not changed. It’s the fact that women don’t take risks as much as men. Men easily apply for a role that involves responsibilities far more than they think they can handle. They don’t care, they just go for it if it means more money, more power or a higher position. Women would rather look for a job description that matches their experience and take it.
For the first five minutes I was defensive. If you’re a woman reading this you’ll probably feel the same! Then I realised maybe he was right. Maybe that’s the reason we don’t see a lot of women in high ranking positions in engineering? The problem is not anymore in portraying us as stupid and shallow. It is a deeper problem, we doubt ourselves.
Even in 2017 it is still going to take a lot of work to change people’s perspective on women especially in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. I honestly thought at the beginning of this post that we were just fine, educated and putting ourselves out there. I guess it’s not enough if we doubt our abilities. The challenge isn’t to work hard or to get a good education or to get a good job. It’s really to work hard on ourselves, to push ourselves beyond our limits without doubting our strength, to take risks even when we think it’s way beyond what we know or what we can do. Only then will we stop stereotypes.