Why does POWE Matter?

Organizations like Promoting Opportunities for Women in Engineering (POWE) have existed for a while now. McWiCs, MWNG, MWiL, and others also come to mind when one thinks about female groups on campus. While these organisations have different mandates and cater to varying populations of students, they share the strive for female empowerment.

Let’s take a closer look at POWE today and understand why it’s such an important organization for all genders. POWE is a “philanthropic group at McGill University under Engineering Undergraduate Society (EUS) that helps, discovers, moulds, supports and promotes every girl who nestled the ambition to adorn an iron ring”. POWE focuses on both female engineering students at McGill and future female engineers as young as primary school girls.

The world needs more women in engineering and POWE unites all students that want to make this a reality. One of the greatest barriers in engineering is the lack of female role models doing traditionally male roles. For me, it’s hard not to experience “imposter syndrome” because all the senior-level engineers are men. Sometimes, professors will make misogynistic or sexually-objectifying comments without even realizing it; I believe that many people need time to change their mindsets, but these comments sting.

POWE’s initiatives include industry tours, networking events, speaker series, and conferences. This year, POWE has visited highly-valued companies such as Google and McKinsey. I was very impressed with the quality of tours we received and I definitely took the business cards of the associates I met during these events. POWE has also hosted a Speed Mentoring event, a prelude to the annual Speed Networking evening in February. Meeting empowering women who are successful in their engineering careers truly makes a difference because their success inspires me to work harder.

Overall, POWE is helping bridge the equity gap between genders and access to resources available to women. While the small events seem unimportant individually, the sum of their parts makes a lasting impact on aspiring female engineers!

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