Women bright sparks needed in electrical and electronic engineering

“As our society becomes more technology driven, the demand for skilled workers in the fields of science technology, engineering and maths (STEM) increases. Unsurprisingly, numerous countries have invested in higher education, encouraging the pursuit of formal education in these fields.” 

This call comes from Doctors Chantelle van Staden and Karen Garner – both lecturers in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Stellenbosch University. Engineering is a leading STEM profession with admission numbers increasing year after year. These numbers have seen female representation gradually and consistently increase across all engineering disciplines in the early 2000s but plateaued in recent years. 

The Importance of Diversity in Engineering

Women have traditionally been underrepresented in the engineering field. In fact, globally, women make up only 28% of all engineering graduates. As we have just celebrated women’s month in August, we should again remind ourselves that with females representing almost 50% of the global population, it is logical to encourage their participation in the workforce to enhance the quality of living of all people.

How to Encourage More Women to Enter the Field of Engineering

The electrical and electronic engineering discipline is multi-dimensional with many career options. From designing energy power plants to creating the latest computing software, this field is framing humanity’s future. However, young women often have limited knowledge about the career options available and might see the lack of female role models in the discipline as a concern. 

There is a need to increase awareness of engineering as a career field and emphasised women’s contributions to this field. One way to do this is to provide mentorship and support. It can be difficult for someone who is a minority in any field (including engineering) to feel like they belong. That’s why it’s so important for those of us who are already in the field to reach out and help those who are coming up behind us. 

We need to be mentors and role models for the next generation of engineers—and show them that there is a place for them in this field. We’ve shared our Open Day video below to show you what a great career choice Electrical and Electronic Engineering can be. 

Why the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering?

This year we have hosted our open day virtually. Join Prof Thinus Booysen to learn more about studying E&E at Stellenbosch University. 

Read the full articles at Van Staden, C & Garner, K ‘Women bright sparks needed in electrical and electronic engineering’ 8 August 2022 Mail & Guardian https://mg.co.za/opinion/2022-08-08-women-bright-sparks-needed-in-electrical-and-electronic-engineering/