Whether male or female: Everyone should follow their interests
The differences for female engineers between Germany and India
There are not enough women in engineering. For example, only 17 % of engineers working in Germany in 2017 were women. The reasons are manifold: prejudices of tutors, coworkers and employers, missing role models, misconceptions about the job, and so on.
Interestingly, the situation differs strongly from country to country. Take, for example, Sowmya Karnati, who is working as a quality engineer at ROHM Semiconductor in Willich/Germany. She is from India, where she did her bachelor in electrical and electronics engineering. In India 30 % of her fellow engineering graduates were female. For comparison: In Germany only 19% of engineering graduates are women.
Studying against all odds
Sowmya definitely did not have an easy way to get where she is today. But her sex never was a problem.
Already in school Sowmya was interested in mathematics and physics. Her favored subjects quickly became the subjects she excelled in. So, when the time came she chose an engineering career. A choice that, she has never regretted.
Despite choosing the difficult path by choosing university studies, her father always encouraged her and her self-belief kept taking her career forward. Higher studies were certainly not an option for girls in her country then. But Sowmya’s father thought differently and encouraged his children to go to university. With his selflessness and good values he became Sowmya’s role model.
Following her interests
After she finished her bachelor she came to Germany to learn more about technology. She did her master of science in scientific instrumentation at EAH Jena. After graduation she started working for ROHM, where she is one of three women in a team of nine. Among the four engineers in the team, she is the only woman.
In Europe, the conviction is still prevalent that science and electrical engineering is not for girls and women. This widespread prejudice keeps girls from becoming engineers. In India, the problem is not the difficulty of science and engineering, but the feared increased stress level in technical jobs. Sowmya believes that, more women would start engineering careers, if they knew that every profession has comparable challenging tasks and similar levels of stress, regardless of weather it is a technical job or not. From her point of view everyone should just follow their interests.
A patient quality engineer
At ROHM Sowmya is working as a quality engineer, this task gives her the possibility to do, what she is good at: working on semiconductor devices, analyzing product failures, and communicating with customers. Her job offers new challenges every day. With her “typically female” patience she can avoid mistakes.
This position also offers the opportunity to continue learning, take on additional responsibilities and grow with her tasks. Once she gains enough experience, she plans to seek a management position.
Caption: Sowmya Karnati came from India to finish her master of science in scientific instrumentation in Germany. Now she works as a quality engineer at ROHM.