At Charles Sturt University, we choose to celebrate women every day. Not only to celebrate the incredible achievements of women in Australia, but those of women around the world. As well as celebrating, we choose to reflect – on all the work that still needs to be done to achieve equality.
The way we see it, we’re entering an exciting period of history where the world expects gender balance. We’re making a real effort to notice its absence and celebrate its presence in the world. It’s not easy making change, but there’s some pretty amazing stuff being done to bring women closer to true equality.
We’re celebrating by sharing the stories of women who are doing amazing things in the STEMM world. Women like Julie Mikahil – speaker at the launch of our Women in Engineering network. Women like Emerie Anonical and Rebecca Wilcox – engineering students and staunch believers in women’s place in STEMM-related industries.
We sat down with these three successful women to get their thoughts on gender equality and what it’s like really like to work and study in a male-dominated industry.
How did you succeed in an industry historically lacking in gender equality?
Julie Mikhail is the outgoing Sydney Division President of Engineers Australia. Between running her own company (Engineering Business), looking after two kids under 10 and volunteering with Engineers Australia, Julie still finds time to inspire the female engineers of tomorrow. Julie launched the Women in Engineering network and took the opportunity to share her views on women in engineering and what success looks like.
“Success is relative! However, I think the industry has changed for the better. When I started, I had to work hard to prove myself and establish a very clear impression of who I was, my work ethic and my capabilities – just to ensure I would be taken seriously. I think now, that pressure isn’t so bad for new female engineers entering the workforce. There were challenging times, but I think my work always spoke for itself in the end, and I just had to hold it together until that point.”
What has been the most valuable skill you’ve learned so far as an engineering student?
Fourth-year engineering student Rebecca Wilcox sees her problem-solving abilities as one of the key skills she’s picked up as a Charles Sturt student.
“The most valuable skill I have learned is being able to take a step back and look at problems with different perspectives in mind. Especially in engineering, there are many factors that need to be considered that you might not immediately think of when using your own frame of reference.”
Fellow fourth-year student Emerie Anonical believes hands-on learning has really helped her feel confident in her skill set.
“I learn best through practical experience. Having practical experience means I can graduate with a competitive amount of field work, and be way ahead of other graduates.”
What advice do you have your young women and girls interested in pursuing a STEMM-related career path?
“Don’t be discouraged by anyone or anything that might make you think you’re not good enough to study a STEMM-related degree. If you do decide to go down this path, always remember that you’re there because you deserve to be. There is so much support around and you can achieve whatever you put your mind to!”
“It’s so important to be confident in your own abilities, and actively pursue opportunities that will help you to get where you want to be. Surround yourself with people who will support you and build you up. STEMM is a challenging but hugely rewarding career with a variety of different paths to pursue.”
“STEMM-related career paths are exciting! You are smack-bang in the middle of a fast-changing world – and with a STEMM career, you can take part in shaping that world. The skills you develop in a degree like engineering are so transferable. For example, logical thinking and problem-solving can be used in all aspects of life and work. So a STEMM education equips you for wide variety of career options.
“And with all the hype surrounding this topic, there couldn’t be a better time for girls to consider STEMM-related careers. The resources and support available are better than ever before.”
Study engineering with us. You’ll find that we’re Australia’s emerging leader in engineering education worldwide. Our degree is designed to produce a new type of engineer – one who can change the world.
You can also check out more of the good work we’re doing to address gender quality in STEMM disciplines.