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How to get more women in engineering: Female engineers offer insights

Aug. 5, 2022

While there's a lot of discussion about the importance of diversity and women in engineering, the question remains: How do we get more women in engineering fields? In the articles that follow, Control Design Editor in Chief Mike Bacidore catches up with women working in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields to find out what challenges they're currently facing, the hurdles to their success and how to encourage young women to pursue an engineering career. 

Also included are key news items highlighting the successes of women in engineering. 

STEM starts in elementary school

Amanda Beaton is the U.S. program manager of Siemens Cooperates with Education at Siemens.

"When I started in an engineering role nearly 20 years ago, there were very few women in any room. Every meeting was all men. I had trouble finding role models in leadership and technical positions as there was such a lack of diversity then. We’ve improved over the years, but girls still struggle to see themselves in an engineering position because so many technical jobs are stereotypically held by men." Read more from Amanda Beaton.

Women engineers continue to rise, but the ceiling remains high

Nina Golder is vice president, global lifecycle services, process systems & solutions, Emerson.

"There are many offramps where women are pressured to exit engineering careers, and to help women navigate around them we must be able to provide support at different critical junctures from the classroom all the way to the boardroom." Read more from Nina Golder.

Mentors can guide women over engineering-career hurdles

Kim Heinle Nelson is senior manager, research and development, Digi-Key Electronics.

"There is opportunity for women to pursue roles in engineering and automation fields, but to grow the number of women interested in engineering takes better education for young people, so they can understand the day-to-day requirements of an engineering job and why an engineering career can be so rewarding." Read more from Kim Heinle.

Engineering career should be more than a salary decision

Silvia Gonzalez is director of product management, software at Emerson.

"I believe coaching and mentoring should be a big part of the effort for companies to support women in engineering. Communicating with new generations how relevant it is to continue learning and growing professionally, sharing experiences others had in the industry and supporting them to challenge companies where gender bias still exists." Read more from Silvia Gonzalez.

Engagement and connection support women in engineering roles

Nicole Otte is director of workforce development, and Megan Anders is technical support team manager at Endress+Hauser USA.

Nicole Otte: "We have to start attracting females into STEM and engineering programs at younger ages, so that there are higher percentages of females in STEM-education pipelines."

Megan Anders: "In industries in which women are the minority, it can seem isolating and intimidating to determine the space that you hold. Mentoring programs give mentees the ability to develop, explore and be understood in an environment that facilitates growth and community." 

Read more from Nicole Otte and Megan Anders.

5 ways to find success as a woman in STEM

Jenn Donahue is a leadership coach, engineer and entrepreneur with 25 years as a member of the U.S. Navy. She is the  founder of JL Donahue Engineering. 

"By implementing these practices, women in STEM can more effectively navigate the difficulties that appear on their individual paths to success and assist each other in becoming successful along the way." Read more from Jenn Donahue.

Denso engineer wins STEP Ahead Award from The Manufacturing Institute

Monique Radersma is a former director of engineering at Denso’s thermal manufacturing facility in Guelph, Ontario.

Monique Radersma, a former director of engineering at Denso’s thermal manufacturing facility in Guelph, Ontario, won a STEP Ahead Award from The Manufacturing Institute. The STEP Ahead Awards annually honor women who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in their careers and represent all levels of the manufacturing industry, from the factory floor to the C-suite. Read more about Monique Radersma.

Emerson’s Deepa Malhotra receives STEP Ahead Award

Deepa Malhotra is director of commercial operations for Emerson’s power and water solutions business.

Deepa Malhotra, director of commercial operations for Emerson’s power and water solutions business, has been recognized with a STEP Ahead Award by The Manufacturing Institute, the workforce development and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). Read more about Deepa Malhotra.

Denso’s Denise Carlson recognized for excellence in leadership

Denise Carlson, vice president of the North American Production Innovation Center and executive lead for Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) at Denso.

Denise Carlson, vice president of the North American Production Innovation Center and executive lead for Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) at Denso, was recognized with a STEP Ahead Award by The Manufacturing Institute, the workforce development and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)Read more about Denise Carlson.

Encouraging women in engineering

Kristen Ballistrea is part of the end-user sales team at B&R Industrial Automation.

"For young girls, getting them involved in things like FIRST Robotics and other STEM-related programs and activities is crucial. For older girls and young women, I think mentorship programs and education/career planning is critical. For me, when I thought of engineering when I was younger, I only saw research and development, but the reality is, there are so many different types of roles out there. Exposure to that is so important and seeing and talking to other women in those types of roles can really make a difference." Read more from Kristen Ballistrea.

Skill sets outweigh gender in filling STEM-field positions

Sarah Rich is vice president, operations & customer success, at Supplyframe.

"Creativity and open-mindedness are the name of the game when it comes to broadening opportunities and finding great people. Organizations should take a look at potential skill sets that can be directly transferable to a given set of job requirements." Read more from Sarah Rich.

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