Although it’s 2015, gender biases still exist (surprising, no?). Obviously they have improved over the last decades, but there are still many careers and fields of study that are considered “historically male-dominated.” One of those is engineering.
Isis Anchalee, a female platform engineer at the company OneLogic, was featured in their recruiting campaign – she appeared on billboards designed to try and draw in more women. After receiving backlash for her photo – which commenters claimed gave a false picture of what female engineers looked like – Wegner started a campaign, using the hashtag #iLookLikeAnEngineer.
The point of the campaign is to help redefine what an engineer should look like, hopefully making the field more accessible to a diverse group of individuals, according to Anchalee. It encourages people – both male and female – to post pictures of themselves with the hashtag.
Data from 2014 (via ) shows that less than a quarter of engineers in any given specialisation are female. Vicky Scrooby, a software engineering student at Western University in London, Ontario, Canada, hopes that can change.
Scrooby was interested in engineering from a young age, and received full support from her friends and family to pursue the degree.
“I became interested in engineering near the end of high school,” she said via email. “I have always enjoyed science and math, so I was looking into degree options that included those subjects. The reason I was drawn to engineering is the real-life application aspect. Engineering takes theoretical concepts, and applies them into concepts and objects that can be used and seen.”
Scrooby is currently completing a 12-month internship between her third and fourth years of study.
While it can’t be denied that gender-bias does exist, Scrooby says she’s been fairly lucky.
“I wouldn't say I've received any negative backlash due to being a woman in this field. There definitely is a difference in gender representation […] However I find that my fellow students and colleagues treat me just the same as a male.”
Not only is Scrooby an engineering student, she also feels strongly about encouraging females to pursue careers in the field. One of her jobs had her running programs that encouraged younger girls to think about careers in science, technology, engineering, and math, and she thinks #ILookLikeAnEngineer is a good idea.
“I think the best way to encourage girls, whether through clubs & camp sessions, or whether through advertising campaigns, is through having a good role model. Isis Anchalee is a legitimate software engineer, so I think she is a good role model.”
In the meantime, Isis Anchalee is now developing a team to build www.ilooklikeanengineer.com as a "safe platform for us al lto continue to share our stories and experiences relating to diversity issues in tech."
Cam Parkes CONTRIBUTOR