What it’s like being female engineering student

It is not uncommon to have fewer females in certain fields but I am always excited when I see other females venturing into those fields. Moi university has five departments in the school of engineering ; civil,electrical and telecommunication,chemical ,mechanical and industrial and textile. Out of the five chemical has the highest number of females. I have not observed which one has the least number but I will find out.

My class has eight females and the rest are guys. The females make up less than 10%.If a girl misses a class the lecturer will know and not because they sit together but its easier to pinpoint the lesser gender. Some girls wear spectacles , the hairstyles or dress codes , the girl with the red lipstick( that is me BTW ) but each girl has a defining characteristic. It is never a surprise if the lecturer tells you I didn’t see you in my last class.

When there is group work it’s either the girls are one group or each girl will be ‘leader ‘ of the group.I am conflicted in this one because it is always predictable when you hear of group work one of the two outcomes happens. Depending on  personality it can be overwhelming when working with guys I have experienced this you call people for group work and everyone wants to go watch a match among other reasons.( I have nothing against football but not giving an alternative always irritates me) Girls can also decide to be bossy make the decision and send out the information because at times you cannot please everyone and work has to go on but this requires a lot of courage.I can attest to that being a class representative.

I do not know if I am the only one but when I meet new people and they ask what you do and I respond that I am a civil engineering student they are startled I don’t know why though (other ladies who have experienced that comment down below) .There is no special treatment the workload is the same for everyone and you have to work your ass off to achieve what you want. It does not get easier ,engineering gets harder as you move up the ladder. There are no short cuts this applies to life in general if you want something work for it.

I think when it comes to innuendos it affects most females be it the conductors of matatus or the watu wa mjengo( skilled and unskilled laborers) which is something I have never understood because do not get me wrong even ladies see good-looking guys and don’t go around shouting remarks on the road . When it comes to the watu wa mjengo I have been on both sides: at one point the comments are hurled at me and on the other hand I have to work with these people but I was glad there was an element of respect but seeing them do it to other women always annoys me.

Back to the school set up , you will hear guys complain that girls are favored or they do not get a supplementary in certain courses but are they insinuating that the ladies don’t earn their grades because of merit ?It is so hard to get the respect that you deserve but I believe that the ways a lady carries herself can earn her the respect she deserves.Issues of sexual harassment ; universities should definitely have workshops clearly explain it because I feel ooh yeah there is a handbook that clearly states it but how many people have read it and understand such that when a person does anything suggestive to a female student it will not be a question of does the offence count .There is category of student to student, staff to student vice versa, in addition to that I think the penalties should just not be written down but action taken against those held liable. ( someone should do research on that it can be a  project idea)

There is this myth that ladies who do engineering are not pretty ( I don’t know using what standards) but before you believe that walk into the engineering department of your university and make your own judgement.Finally, Ladies should work on being each others cheerleaders there are so many opportunities out there to share so lighting another candles does not mean it will put out yours.

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Till my next post, ” Life is tough my darling but so are you.” – Stephanie Bennett Henry.




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