How to turn more women on to engineering
When I was in college studying engineering more than 30 years ago, I was often the lone woman in a class. The World Economic Forum reported last year that only 11% of the world’s engineers and architects are women.
I’m not surprised. In fact, I’m surprised the figure is that high. Many young women are not encouraged to pursue enginering. They hear comments like:
- “You can’t be here, this is for guys only.”
- “Your just not good enough in math.”
- Or, a woman couldn’t know some aspect of math or science ‘cause you’re a girl.’
- “You only got into engineering college (or even into an engineering job) just to meet diversity requirements.”
These are comments the women profiled in this issue have mentioned. It was prevalent 30 years ago, and it’s still going on. So the first step to turning more women on to engineering is to stop saying these comments.
Who said engineering was the exclusive territory of men?
Women continue to show it is not. You would think some men would have learned by now.
If 11% can make it, there is no reason that number can’t be 50% or higher. As you read the profiles, some women had more challenges dealing with male colleagues than others. It’s a sad statement that women must continue to overachieve just to prove they are as good as the average man. But these women do. And they are an inspiration to other women.
The question has been raised on why more women are not considering engineering as a career. One issue is the small number of women that younger women can look up to. So here are several inspirational examples of successful women engineers, in all fields of engineering. If you have a daughter, a sister, or a relative, show them this issue. This is only a small sample of women who have made successful careers in engineering. Let’s stop the nonsense that engineering belongs only to men, and show these potential women engineers the women who stuck it out, despite the attempts to stop them.
Leslie Langnau | Managing Editor
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