Attracting Women to Engineering

Posted on January 13, 2007  Comments (3)

Colleges focusing on attracting women to engineering

Mahera Philobos, director of Georgia Tech’s Women in Engineering program and a civil and environmental engineering professor, said she’s had success getting women to enroll in some areas of engineering, like biomedical and industrial. Both are perceived by women as fields that make contributions to the world, she said.

While frustrated by the stagnant enrollment, Philobos knows change happens slowly. She said the key is reaching the girls when they’re in middle and high school to encourage them to take rigorous math and science courses.

That does not translate into a national trend. Women received 18 percent of the 78,200 engineering degrees given out in 2003-04, the latest data available from the U.S. Department of Education. That’s the same percentage as in 1998 and only slightly more than the 16 percent in 1996.

Related: A Decade of Progress for Women in ScienceIndian Institute of Technology – Female StudentsWomen for ScienceDiversity Focus

3 Responses to “Attracting Women to Engineering”

  1. Sarah
    February 4th, 2007 @ 9:11 am

    As an engineering student in an extremely male dominated field, Mechatronic Engineering, i have done some investigation and found that particularly in both my area and other areas which include a fare bit of programing it seems to be important to get girls as early as possible interested in not only playing computer games and becoming computer literate but to also get them interested in finding out how it all works (both software and hardware). Computer games, making and finding out how things work has always been apart of growing up when your a boy however it is something that has been missed out in the raising of young girls (as traditionally it was thought that females would be useless in this area). And it is at this early age which children really start to spark interest in things.

  2. Weck
    June 13th, 2007 @ 11:31 pm

    I work in an Engineering Department and the men out number the women by approximately 90%.
    However, I think we will see an increase in the amount of women in the field in the near future.
    The current generations attitude on equality, obsession with technology, and the
    abundant amount of oppurtunites offered will most likely cause a greater interest in
    Engineering for both young women and men.

  3. curiouscat
    June 14th, 2007 @ 8:58 am

    There is another macro factor that is likely to push the engineering gender balance more toward equality. Women now make up more than 60% of all college graduates and I have read estimates that it will increase to 70% in the next decade (though I can’t find sources now). Those are pretty amazing statistics. Granted there is still the opposite gender gap for engineering, but I think it will move to more balance going forward, due to efforts being made to do so and the overall gender demographics of college students. What is going to happen to gender gaps for fields that already have larger numbers of women graduates will be interesting to see – it is hard to see how they will not increase the gender gaps if the overall demographic trends for gender of graduates continues.

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