Women in engineering: a personal perspective
Respected female engineer, Yasemin Baygar, shares her experience as a woman in engineering and her thoughts on how the industry is changing to encourage girls into engineering.
It is widely acknowledged across the technology and engineering industries that there is still a lot of work to do when we consider how we encourage more young females into engineering. Huge steps have been taken to inspire girls at school to study science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects by showing the endless possibilities a career in engineering can bring them.
Engineering has an enormous impact on society, global issues, welfare, and the environment, and by impressing young people with how a career in engineering could positively contribute, we’ll see an increase in the number of future engineers.
Yasemin Baygar, Senior Design Engineer, shares her own story and her thoughts about promoting engineering to young men and women.
When Yasemin Baygar was at school she had a passion for maths and physics, so pursuing a career in engineering seemed like a natural progression for her. After successfully completing her BA and MA degrees she achieved her engineering ambitions when she joined Siemens in Turkey in 2010 as an electrical engineer.
Although Yasemin’s is a story of success, she acknowledges that when she was at school, girls weren’t proactively encouraged to pursue STEM subjects if they didn’t have a natural interest in them. In her undergraduate class there were just 10 women to 90 men.
Fortunately, she is now seeing a real step-change in the effort schools and organisations are making to encourage women into engineering. She celebrates the support and opportunities that are provided as companies recognise the challenges female engineers face in a traditionally male-dominated industry and urges future engineers to grab them with both hands as they consider a career in this vitally important field of work.
Engineering is not like it traditionally was with loud, dirty, heavy machinery. Engineering now is more about research and development, about improving products and systems and using the latest technologies and software to achieve that.Yasemin Baygar, Engineer
Yasemin admits, at the start of her career, she found working in a male-dominated environment daunting at times. But large engineering and technology companies like Siemens have been working hard to change that environment by improving gender diversity in engineering and supporting STEM activities. The effort to change the perception of engineering is also noticeable.
Engineering is one of the broadest areas of study and one that is committed to tackling some the biggest critical global issues we face today. By showing potential future graduates how the systems, technology and solutions that, as engineers, they could design and develop will positively impact the world’s population, then we create a new image of engineering.
Ian Lannagan, Secondary Engineering Manager and Yasemin’s line manager, says: “Siemens is about providing opportunities to, and supporting young female and male engineers who are starting out in their careers. It’s a very specialised field that we work in that often comes under higher levels of scrutiny than other industries. We look to recruit anyone who has the drive to succeed and the attention to detail that we need.”
Yasemin celebrates the effort that is being made to promote engineering and encourage women into the industry. She says: “I believe this is a great time for women to grab the opportunity of a hugely rewarding career in engineering. We must recognise that we are being supplied with numerous benefits and support and if girls and young women use it wisely and are focused and detail orientated, then this is the time for them to succeed.”
She adds: “There are so many opportunities at Siemens. It’s a large, mature company that supports progression. I’m very happy working in detailed design engineering, so I’ll continue on this career path but, if I wanted to change, I know there would be numerous other career opportunities here.”
As a respected senior female engineer, Yasemin has recently taken on additional responsibility by undertaking a mentoring role for the higher apprentices in her department sharing her experience and also encouraging the young engineers to embed within the Siemens culture and engineering. She was asked to consider the position after her support and management skills were recognised alongside her technical capabilities.
Yasemin says: “I enjoy the mentoring role a lot and take a great deal of satisfaction from supporting young engineers. When someone asks you a question about what you are doing, it makes you look at it from a different point of view. I like getting those questions from enquiring minds - they challenge me to look at things in different ways, and that’s what being an engineer is all about.”
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