When you think of engineers, most will think of a male engineers. However, women like Caroline Abramson have started to break that mold. Not only is she president of the student chapter of INCOSE (International Council on Systems Engineering), but she also has a job in this field, while perusing her Masters and her Bachelor in Systems Engineering BS/MS program. Talk about a girl boss!
Though Caroline does not view herself separate from the guys in her class or field, it is not unknown that men engineers outnumber women engineers almost 12:1, according to National Society of Professional Engineers. In recent years however, the numbers slowly start to creep up. I got the chance to sit down with Caroline and get her personal views from a vantage point of a female in a man’s world.
When asked what it is to work in a man-dominated field, she answered that she’s never left like an outsider or that she did not belong. “All of the guys I have met through school and through work have been respectful and have completely viewed me as an equal.” Perhaps due to progressive mindsets, women have found more courage to enter fields like science, engineering, and finance in which have been previously associated with mostly run by men.
When spirited women go against the norm and pursue their passion, no obstacle is bigger than their own ambition. She states: “I learned that success is not measured or defined by your gender, but by your willingness and determination to rise to the top. You have to seek your own opportunities to create your own success.”
Simply stating that women are afraid to enter these types of fields immortalizes this mentality through her perspective. The cycle of fear keeps women from entering the field and ultimately preserves said field or industry to stay a man-dominated sector. Ms. Abramson states everyone is nervous in taking classes like the ones that teach the mechanics behind fluid dynamics because it sounds (and we bet is really) difficult. “Guys have hesitations about taking these classes too – we are all in the same boat.” The key is if you have the capability to learn a new skill then whether you are a male or female does not determine anything. Only your desire.
When asked why she choose this field, she answered: “A lot of changes that we want to see happen in the world, never actually happen because they get caught up in the bureaucracy and politics. Engineers however, get the job done and are helping society advance in so many fields – automotive, aviation, emerging technologies, and medicine.” Spoken like a poet, Caroline wishes to set out to make a difference and does not let gender norms stop her vision.
A piece of advice Ms. Abramson has to women who want to enter a more male-dense career path is to not get caught up in thinking a certain industry is a male-dominated field. It is irrelevant whether you are sitting next to a male or a female. However, what is more important is to decided if you are passionate about the job. Caroline knows that with enthusiasm, dedication, (and a quite a few all-nighters) you can accomplish any job.
Well there you go ladies! Another example of a female not letting norms, statistics or mindsets of others stop her in doing something she truly is passionate about. Cannot wait to see what great things come from this devoted and intelligent collegiette.
We are all given a brain to stock up with knowledge. We are all given hands to work through projects. We are created equally but we are not all given determination and dedication. That’s something you make out of yourself. And that’s what makes each student, employee, and person different from each other. Not their gender.
Now the question is why have we waited this long to notice this?