Engineer Your Life is an amazing organisation that looks to inspire girls, into careers in Science and Engineering by changing the way they think about the field. If this is sounding familiar to you, you’ve probably read someone else ranting about this goal…like me perhaps?

They have actually been dealing in depth with the issue of image, and trying to find the best ways of -wait for it- marketing the profession to girls! Basically, you wouldn’t buy a house if the estate agent only told you all the bad bits about the profession and left out the fact that its actually a really great investement and it will give you the freedom to follow your dreams. Would you? So why would you want to go into engineering if the only engineer you knew told you all about how awfully difficult the degree was and that you needed to get straight A’s in maths and science, but left out how amazingly broad the field was and that it opened so many doors?

So the Engineer Your Life task force came up with four great messages that are perfectly truthful and positive ways to look at what the field of engineering can be! For anyone who criticizes the messages below, I have added comments from my own experiences (remember I graduated 7 months ago).

Live your life, love what you do. Engineering will challenge you to turn dreams into realities while giving you the chance to travel, work with inspiring people, and give back to your community.
(I have travelled to the USA 4 times and will go to Mozambique next month for engineering conferences, I’ve met inspiring and incredible people along the way and through EWB and my thesis-project, have given back to my community. Above all, I LOVE what I do!)

•Creativity has its rewards. Women engineers are respected, recognized, and financially rewarded for their innovative thinking and creative solutions.

(In my work, I get the opportunity to be creative. In uni all of my design-projects were female-orientated-for a torch-design project I designed a lantern that was easier to hold on long walks; for a multi-tool, I designed one that was suited to women’s needs and could be carried around safely in a handbag-no sharp edges.  I didn’t do this to be a feminist-its just what made the most sense to me as a female. I love tinkering around at home and wish someone would actually get me a cute, pink multitool for my next b-day! Hint hint! There is definitely scope to bring creatively new feminine ideas to even mechanical design)

•Make a world of difference. From small villages to big cities, organic farms to mountaintops, deep-sea labs to outer space, women engineers are going where there is the greatest need and making a lasting contribution.
(I have worked with bringing clean-energy and sustainabile technologies to some of the poorest people in South Africa through Engineers Without Borders-SA. Compassion is a must for this line of work-and this is something not limited to women. I am really proud of the other young engineers-male and female-that are carrying my project forward successfully now that I’ve graduated!)

•Explore possibilities. Women engineers often use their skills to go into business, medicine, law, or government. An engineering education will prepare you for many different careers.

(This is true. A great number of women do go into other fields. Many engineers I know now work for banks and marketing companies (FMCG). My thesis was in the medical field-it turns out a lot of hospitals world-round are learning from the engineering world. Engineers are sought after for their problem-solving abilities. They can apply these critical skills to practically any field.)

Too young to be mechanically minded?

I personally think these messages are a great way to promote the field by showing how positive and necessary engineering is/ can be. Sure, candy-coating it has its pitfalls. It is still a difficult degree to get through. But my aim is to attract the top female students to engineering as their FIRST CHOICE. (And not just because they couldn’t get into medicine). For this, we need engineering to be as attractive as possible-attract a higher caliber of female student-and look forward to a diverse and innovative future.

I will be talking about engineering at Durban Girls’ College this Thursday (my old high school), so thanks EYL for the inspirational messages to share with the girls!