Engineering continues to be a male dominated profession despite real prospects for women. Engineering is one of the most diverse areas to work in, as engineers find new ways of doing things and developing creative solutions to modern problems, ultimately creating a better lifestyle for us all. So we should encourage more females into the industry, especially in Pakistan.
There is a huge gender gap among engineers. In Pakistan, women make up over half of the population, so it’s crucial for the industry to attract more women into engineering to increase its talent pool. Unfortunately, when a woman does enter this field she faces a lot of negativity and people who question her abilities in the workplace. According to the Pakistan Council for Science and Technology, there is only one female for every nine males working in engineering and technology in Pakistan.
“There is a phenomenal amount of gender gap in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics),” said Ramla Qureshi, a Pakistani native and MS student in civil engineering at the University at Buffalo (UB). “I thought this is not right. We are not utilizing the talents of the half the population,” so she founded the Women Engineers in Pakistan (WEP). Qureshi was awarded a Fullbright scholarship and is now studying Structural Engineering with a focus on Performance-based design for earthquakes and other hazards in the US. She is trying to recruit ambassadors internationally, role models who could help WEP grow. She says “Women in Pakistan are extremely talented. They are intelligent entities who are willful of changing the world for better.”
The WEP is trying to alleviate the lack of gender balance within Pakistan engineering by:
- Increase representation of women in engineering.
- Educate about career choices in engineering.
- Promote liaison between industry and student bodies.
- Inspire younger generations about engineering by highlighting successful women in the field.
- Determine and advocate for the essential needs of women engineers in Pakistan.
- Feature scholarships and awards pertinent to engineering.
- Engage and activate Alumni connections to help within the work force.
The organization is aiming to increase participation from Pakistani women in the field of engineering. The organization works with young girls at a high school level to encourage them towards science and math. Ramla Qureshi started this with a Facebook page and now it has become a full fledged organization. After being contacted by the US Embassy regarding a meeting with a NASA engineer was a real breakthrough and seems to be what put WEP on the map. The vision of WEP is to bridge the gender gap within engineering domains in Pakistan.