Engineering is a Woman’s World! — or at least it can and should be.
Family and friends send me articles like this more often than I wish was necessary. This article was published in the Jacksonville, FL paper on August 5, 2012.
The title bodly declares that “Engineering still a man’s world.” Do I disagree? Unfortunately, no, in fact I wrote a paper once titled almost the same. My concern is, when are we going to stop saying it, and reinforcing stereotypes and biases that are discouraging to young women who are considering the field.
On page two of the article, the author writes: “The subtle messages sometimes conveyed by teachers and parents that engineering is a man’s world also helps continue that pattern,” quoting Society of Women Engineers executive director and CEO Betty Shanahan. Case in point! When we create headlines like this, those messages stick in our head and become implicit and sometimes explicit bias against women in engineering. This headline is likely an unintentional but overt message that engineering is not for women.
This is certainly a complex issue, and we want to allow students to understand the landscape of the careers they choose, but perhaps we can change the conversation, and change the tone of our sweeping accusations across a multi-disciplined field. Engineering isn’t a man’s world, but instead the corporate and organizational entities that host people of these disciplines can claim the title. Government and law are still an “old-boys-club” according to my friends in these fields, but women still choose to participate. There are deep seeded biases against female participation and aptitude in science and math, and with a lack of understanding of what engineering is and what engineers do, we continue to discourage women to enter a field.
Let’s Change the Conversation:
Engineers are creative and collaborative problem solvers.
Engineering is essential for our health, happiness, and safety.
Engineers make a world of difference and help shape our future!
And WOMEN make great engineers!