Female engineers strive to break male dominance

04Aug 2016
The Guardian
Female engineers strive to break male dominance

FOR a long time engineering was exclusively for men in Tanzania. The specialisation in mathematics required to enter engineering studies was not offered to girls until 1969.

There are still few girls choosing science subjects in schools today.The first female engineers in the country graduated in 1976. In 2009 only four per cent of all registered engineers in Tanzania were women. Most female engineers are hired in lower level positions.

Few girls choose to become engineers. In general, there are less girls than boys taking higher education in Tanzania. It is enhanced by attitudes of engineering being a profession for men. It is also a lack of female role models.

A four-year engineering education and a minimum of three years practical work experience is required before the candidates are allowed to register as professional engineers and get their professional title.

The registration is done through Engineers Registration Board (ERB). ERB implements also the Structured Engineers Apprentice Programme (SEAP) on behalf of the Tanzanian government. SEAP gives newly graduated engineers the three-year work experience they need. They also get a close follow up from experienced engineers.

But under the structured engineers apprenticeship programme (SEAP), implemented by the Engineering Registration Board, Tanzania's professional body, with funding from the Norwegian government, the number of female engineers in Tanzania has more than doubled since 2010.

Over five years, the Norwegian government has provided 13.9 million Norwegian crowns ($1.65 million) in funds to support trainee female engineers, mostly in the form of a monthly living allowance and training for mentors.

There is no doubt that female trainees will become mentors for young engineers and some of them will take leadership positions in the near future.

The Institution of Engineers Tanzania is set to host the second women engineers’ convention and exhibition to discuss innovation and application of available technologies towards solving problems in the sector.

The convention will also involve discussing entrepreneurship and business creation for women engineers to enable them to overcome financial challenges.

Themed “Enhancing women engineers towards social and professional development,” the convention will take place on August 12, in Dar es Salaam. It aims to motivate women engineers to be able to explore their full potential in their social and professional lives using the Best Practice Approach.

“Over a number of years, the engineering community has been seeing a positive change among engineers playing a noticeable role in growing the profession. There is, however, still a lot more that needs to be done in attaining the required calibre of women engineers.

“The fifth phase government which has a mission to make Tanzania a middle income nation in 2025 presses for more male and female engineers to industrialise the economy.

The convention would attract women engineers working in both public and private organisations as well as government ministries, higher learning institutions, secondary schools, engineering associations and all other stakeholders.

It is our hope that the convention will equip the delegates with necessary knowledge to make a difference in the engineering profession as far as women engineers are concerned.

Moreover, we believe that the event will also enable an interaction between women engineers from different walks of life so as to achieve one common goal of enticing women engineers to align themselves to provide solutions through commitment dedication and hard work.

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