Three Female Engineers Share Their Solutions to the Gender Gap

By Marie-Antoinette Issa
on 30 November 2023

Daphne Wong, Bethany Smith, and Thea Kurniawan may not quite be household names. But, these three accomplished female engineers are game changers. All actively working towards bridging the gender gap in the industry. The trio are employed by Hatch, a leading multi disciplinary firm that specialises in engineering, project management, and professional services within the metals, energy, and infrastructure sectors.

Their shared commitment to dispel stereotypes and foster diversity and inclusion reflects a broader push within the engineering community. And a passion to encourage more women to enter and thrive in the field.

The threesome’s study, titled ‘Debunking Myths of Women in Engineering,’ reveals startling statistics. Over half of adults surveyed perceive the engineering field as predominantly male dominated. And a significant 22% harbour reservations about its female-friendliness. Students aged 16-18 primarily pursue STEM subjects to meet university prerequisites and enhance their high school grades. Rather than a genuine interest in the field.

Daphne, a Process Engineer who specialises in Hydrometallurgy, asserts that engineering is a dynamic and versatile profession that extends beyond traditional stereotypes.

“Contrary to common misconceptions, engineers are not confined to physical locations. They perform many tasks in offices or remotely, replacing the outdated image of engineers in hard hats and steel-capped boots, with a diverse range of roles. These cover design, construction, testing, operation, and maintenance across various industries. Importantly, engineers do not need to be math geniuses. Roles vary from highly technical to project management oriented, requiring different levels of mathematical involvement.”

Bethany, a Senior Mechanical Engineer, emphasises the social impact of engineering. Beyond considerations of equity, diversity in engineering brings enhanced productivity, innovation, and fresh perspectives, leading to better products for everyone. “The digital revolution has expanded the definition of engineering, with contemporary infrastructure like software, hardware, data, and business processes managed by engineers.”

The fact that engineering skills are highly transferable across industries highlights the engineering profession’s versatility. The professional, scientific, and technical services industry employs almost a quarter of all working STEM graduates. This demonstrates the broad applicability of engineering skills. The trio underscores the need for collective action to reshape perceptions, enhance visibility and improve the landscape for women in engineering

Ultimately, Daphne encapsulates their mission succinctly when she says: “Our goal is to bridge the gap between myths and truths about women in engineering, making the field more inclusive.”

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