Colleen McCann, a project manager at a robotics company, wants to encourage women and young girls to find their passion in engineering and pursue it. As it stands, women have increased their numbers in many professions previously dominated by men, including areas in STEM (Science, Technology, Math and Engineering) from an average of 10% in 2010 to 20% in 2018.
Having grown up in a predominantly traditional family, McCann states that she never had the opportunity to play with cars or toys that would have encouraged her engineering creativity. “Growing up as a girl, I didn’t get opportunities to play with cars. I always wanted a challenge,” she said.
As companies continue to create policies that protect women and address gender inequality, the rise of females in engineering will continue to become a growing trend. Women and girls are continually overcoming challenges in STEM by focusing on their skills and staying current with industry trends. Cultural norms are also beginning to shift, allowing young girls to feel confident knowing their skills and performance determines their success rather than their gender.
While many may perceive a career in engineering as being difficult, McCann herself does not shy away from the challenge. “I really enjoy coming up against something you might not understand, but you find solutions and ways around and then you just solve problems.”
McCann’s secret to her success in engineering is found within her diligence. She says, “Figure out what it is you are passionate about in engineering and go after it. Just keep pursuing it.”
McCann’s drive and perseverance should inspire women and young girls everywhere to pursue careers in STEM because not only are they capable of surviving in this environment, they are capable of thriving and taking the industry by force. A wave of change is hitting the engineering industry, and it is women like Colleen McCann that are helping facilitate the change to come.