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From ancient and prehistoric times, women were known to be the keepers of hearth and home and main cooks of a family. Needless to say, nowadays, this opinion has been considerably changed in terms of feminism and post feminism. To be more exact, society has accepted the right of women to be engaged in various spheres of human activity, which were considered to be not typical of female nature. As a result, female participation in the development of engineering has become one of the central issues of female rights and progress. Taking this into account, it is to be said that this paper touches upon historic issues of feminism development and traces its role in the history of engineering. What is more, engineering as a field of human activity will be also discussed. Having considered these points, it is necessary to proceed to the following section, which describes the history of the related feminist aspect.
History of Feminist Aspect
Speaking about the history of feminism, it is necessary to narrow it to the perspective of female struggle. Thus, taking this into consideration, it is to be said that feminism has emerged as an attempt of women to obtain something else, except their stereotypical duties. In other words, feminism generally presents a female struggle for broadening their field of activities. Therefore, this struggle started in the first half of the nineteenth century as the first wave of feminism. Doubtless, it was not a well-organized movement; it was mainly an expression of a desire rather than an in-depth prepared protest. The actual obstacles the women faced were interconnected with a strong social opinion about female role in daily life, certain ideas of writers, artists, and musicians, who actually considered women as a source of beauty, and hence, inspiration (Tandon 72). Thus, in general, women were facing strong prejudice against them being engaged in spheres, which had nothing to do with female businesses. Women were supposedto be an object of public view because of their natural beauty, which should not be spoiled by male responsibilities.
With regard to the second wave of feminism, it is necessary to say that women were facing obstacle to political involvement because even western democracy politics was gender-oriented (Freedman 327). In such a way, it is worth mentioning that women were struggling for having the same opportunities as males. To broader extent, obtaining male responsibilities was not limited to the physical work. Besides that, it should be noted that the main cause of female striving for participation in the engineering development dates back to the first wave of feminism because this period is known for female involvement in heavy industry rather than politics.
History of Engineering
As was pointed out in the introduction to this paper, history of engineering is supposed to be discussed as well. Taking this into account, it is to be admitted that engineering dates back to the Middle Ages, when math began to be considered as a separate science. However, it should be noted that attempts to obtain engineering skills were made even in prehistoric times. In fact, the simplest instruments of labor, wheel invention, and weapon can witness this fact (Baetz, Harms, and Volti 17). Therefore, it is to be said that women were familiar with engineering from the ancient times, and it is quite possible that they had to deal with it on their own due to a wide range of objective reasons: illness or death of the husband, extreme need for more food, natural disasters, etc. Hence, it is evident that inability of women to deal with engineering seems to be a stereotypical opinion.
Linking the history of engineering to feminism, it is necessary to say that feminism emerged right after first factories had appeared. On the contrary, it is to be noted that even in the second half of the nineteenth century an image of a perfectly efficient factory was quite vague (Ceccarelli and De LLa Portilla 46). As a consequence, women felt that technical progress was in need of some new view on itself. That is why women might start being involved in the engineering. To the broadest extent, it is worth mentioning that psychologically, men and women have different outlooks on the same reality. Thus, involvement of both views comprises the clearest understanding of the objective reality. By the same token, it is important to admit that the perspective of history of engineering points at the relation of female struggle to the first wave of feminism.
Struggle of Women to Be Engineers
Taking the findings of previous sections into consideration, it is to be admitted that female struggle to become engineers coincided with the first wave of feminism and the development of the first factories. As these factories were imperfect, the need to fresh knowledge was extremely high. Thus, women deliberately decided to participate in the development of industry. As a consequence, the inventor of circular saw was an American toolmaker Tabitha Babbit. As a result, she was doubted to be the original creator of this tool. However, Tabitha was demonstrating a deep knowledge and research enthusiasm so that she was proved to be the inventor. Then, Ada Lovelace is known for invention of the first computer program. In fact, this woman had received a meaningful education facing a strong disagreement over her involvement in program engineering. Though, Ada had published an essay with a detailed description of her findings and even detection of first computer bugs. Finally, Elisa Leonida Zamfirescu was officially proclaimed to be the first female engineer in Europe. To be more precise, this woman has made a wide range of researches related to the coal mining and other geological issues. Elisa was also doubted to have a sufficient intellectual and academic capacity to be claimed an engineer. As for the evidence of female struggle in space era, it is to be said that Bonnie Dunbar has experienced difficulties in her engineering career.