This is a belated post in support of the International Day of the Girl. Around the world girls have to risk abuse, sexual assault, and even death just to get an education. Here in the “civilized world,” they face additional roadblocks if they seek entry to scientific or engineering fields. This is illogical and wasteful of an incredible amount of human potential.
It has been my pleasure to work with some great engineers over the years who just happened to be women. One of the most prominent consulting engineers in the wind turbine gearbox field is a woman. The AGMA delegate to ISO is a woman. For many, many years, the primary, day-to-day technical contact for a large bevel gear company was a woman. We have some extremely talented women working in the “trenches” of the gear trade these days, and if we make a little bit more effort there will be more in the future.
I have written previously in this space about making an outreach to young people via internships for college students and classroom presentations to school children. Today I encourage you to think carefully before speaking to the young ladies in your life. Don’t chase them out of your garage or workshop. Let them get dirty alongside of you while you repair, tinker, remodel, or build. Let them know first-hand that engineering and mechanics have nothing to do with gender. Let’s stop discouraging half the brains on the planet from considering a career in technology.
In closing, I’d like to thank all the wonderful female engineers who put up with the hazing, pranks, and discouragement to join our ranks. We are lucky to have your often unique insights into this work. Hopefully the day is coming when ability and interest will be the primary factors in the selection of one’s life work.