Carmina Mancenon is the delegate representing Japan at the 2013 G(irls)20 Summit. The Summit brings together one girl, aged 18-20, from each G20 country to look at the G20 Leaders agenda thru the lens of the economic empowerment of girls and women. Over the next few weeks, I’ll post interviews with the G(irls)20 delegates. You’ll see what problems this new generation of women are fixing.
Interview with Carmina Mancenon:
My name is Carmina Mancenon and I will represent Japan at the 2013 G(irls)20 Summit. I am an engineering student at Princeton University. I hope to encourage other girls to break societal norms and recognize their passions by pursuing a career in technology as well.
What do you think is one of the most important things in the world that “needs to be fixed?”
I think one of the most important things in the world that “needs to be fixed” is the low number of women entering engineering and technology professions. In 2004, only 9.5% of Japanese graduate students in engineering were women. This reflects broader the societal problems of young girls’ perceptions and peer pressures to pursue certain careers. Engineering, by its very nature of creating products, can be seen as a ‘masculine’ profession that does not adhere to the ideals of femininity. Additionally, especially in Japan, employers deter from hiring women engineers because of their future family obligations, leaving few opportunities for female engineers. This means that girls are not given the chance to explore the engineering and technology side of education because society does not trust their capabilities. We are also left with products that might yearn for some female intuition.
What will it look like when it’s fixed?
When it’s fixed, success will look like…engineering classes in Japan with the same amount of men and women. The woman’s ability to innovate and implement will not be undermined, and women will not have to struggle to find opportunity.
What are you doing to help fix it?
To help fix the world, I will…continue to work with the Keller Center for Entrepreneurship at Princeton as a Fellow to increase interest in technology. I will continue drawing on issues girls are already interested in, like social entrepreneurship and fashion and show them how these interests intersect with technology, like I did with Stitch Tomorrow, a social enterprise I co-founded and Princeton’s Sustainable Fashion Initiative, another organization I co-founded. I will graduate from my Engineering degree at Princeton University with a certificate in Information Technology and Society, enlighten other girls with my story, and work with local organizations that address these issues.
What can others do to help fix it?
To help fix the world, you can…be aware of the decisions and natural emotions you take and have towards women entering engineering and technology fields. Perhaps you should reconsider taking that guy over that girl for a job, the books you buy your daughter, the way you treat your female engineering classmates, or your life’s path.
About the Author:
I’m the Executive Producer of the Forbes Women’s Summit: Power Redefined– a very different kind of Women’s Summit —not about women’s issues, but how a new generation of women, redefining the notion of power through innovation and disruption, can join forces with more traditional leaders to help solve what needs to be fixed in society. Follow me on Twitter
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