Out of every 100 engineers who graduate in India, 30 are female. Twenty out of every 100 students admitted to BTech in IITs are female. In industries ranging from energy to automotive to construction to IT and more, we find women engineers and technocrats in large numbers at junior levels, and also at senior levels. There is no question, BTech is a very good career option for girls today, as lakhs of women engineers are demonstrating daily.
Engineers design and build products that make life easier for people. They identify problems in everyday life and build products to solve these problems. Companies that sell these products make money and can pay good salaries to their engineers. Some examples: After BTech from Bharati Vidyapeeth, Saloni Malhotra started DesiCrew in 2004 to provide online IT services from small towns and villages. Today, DesiCrew has a workforce of 1,000 people in rural India serving clients globally.
Richa Singh completed BDes from IIT Guwahati in 2011. She saw that mental health is a growing problem for students. In 2014, she co-founded YourDost, an online mental health counselling service. YourDost is the official counselling partner for several IITs.
While a few engineers start companies, most work for private companies. Others work for the government to design and build railways and roads, public buildings, and the computer systems that serve the public.
Why are IITs keen to attract more female students?
Most kitchens in Indian homes are used by women. You may have noticed your mother or aunt straining as the kitchen counter is too high for her. She climbs on a stool to reach the cupboards above the counter. Why don’t we design the kitchen for the average Indian woman who is 5 feet tall? Because kitchens are designed by Indian and European men who are 5″-9”taller than Indian women
I am sure you can find many more examples of products used by girls and women that are unsuitable for them, because they are designed by male engineers. If we had more female engineers, products that they design would be suitable for Indian girls and women. IITs decided to attract more girls to BTech so that India gets more female engineers who will design and build better products for India and for the world.
Becoming a good engineer
Engineering combines science, technology and common sense. In BTech, you will study many science and technology subjects. These are important. Equally important is to gain practical experience. In countries that lead in producing technology products, such as the US and Germany, young people tinker with gadgets at home, in school and in college.
Spend time in the labs and in the hostel building useful gadgets. Two first-year BTech girls in IIT Mandi built a low-cost weather station. This periodically measured campus temperature and humidity and uploaded it on a website. Teams of second-year BTech students in IITs and other colleges have built products including an air-cooled bike helmet for summer, a robot for feeding, a robot for planting seeds in a field, and many more.
You can do engineering even in school. If you make a ramp to ride your bike up the steps in front of your house, you are doing engineering. If you use Lego to make a bridge between two tables, that is civil engineering. To become a good engineer, start practising today.
Choosing the right branch
Friends and family may tell you that girls only join Computer Science, IT or Electrical Engineering, that they cannot handle the “heavy engineering” branches such as Mechanical or Civil. Gone are the days when engineers used muscle power to operate giant machines. Today, even the heaviest machines are operated by the touch of a button, the flip of a switch, or the twirl of a knob. Machines and entire factories are controlled by computers, engineers usually work with keyboard and mouse in an air-conditioned office.
Women engineers are productive in construction sites, automotive factories, mines and chemical plants besides IT companies. Whichever branch takes your fancy, you will find other women by your side in the classroom, the lab and on the job.
What if I don’t get into an IIT?
About 99 per cent of Indian engineers did not study BTech in an IIT. Through hard work and dedication, many of these engineers are responsible for much of the technological progress in India.
Gargi Dasgupta, who is not an IITian, is the Director and the Chief Technology Officer of IBM Research India. She did BTech from Jadavpur University, Kolkata and PhD from the University of Maryland, US.
Kalpana Nayak did BTech from BITS Pilani. She obtained MTech (CSE) from IIT Madras in 1996. With a passion to serve society, she joined IPS. Today, she is Inspector General (Vigilance) in the Tamil Nadu Police.
In 2016, NIT Trichy got its first female Director, Mini Thomas. She did BTech from Kerala University followed by MTech and PhD from IITs. After a long stint as Professor of Electrical Engineering at Jamia Millia Islamia, she led NIT Trichy to become one of the best engineering colleges in India.
If you don’t make it to an IIT, join some other college in a branch that excites you. Get your hands dirty with projects, study diligently, and you too could become one of the engineers who is looked up to. You could try for an MTech in an IIT to gain greater experience and depth.
Your four years of college is a time to experiment, to find yourself, to learn your passion and decide how you can change India. Living in a hostel on campus with students from different parts of India is a great learning experience. Aim high, work hard on making your passion a reality, and success will follow.
Courtesy : The Indian Express