Why arent there more female engineers?
Why arent there more female engineers? (Thinkstock)
Why arent there more female engineers?
Lexile: 730L

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In U.S. universities, just 12 percent of engineering professors are women. Only 11 percent of engineers are female. Yet women receive 20 percent of the engineering degrees awarded yearly. The Washington post reported this percentage.

Researchers have long wondered about this divide. Is it because women are more likely to become full-time parents? Are women less aggressive in going after opportunities? Neither explains the problem. Why do women seem to leave engineering careers? Mainly because of a chilly workplace environment.

In a new study, researchers surveyed more than 5,000 female graduates. These women earned engineering degrees over the past 60 years. The Post reports that forty percent had either left engineering or never worked as engineers. Women most frequently said they left because of "uncivil workplace climates." Examples included "the expectation to put in long hours of face time in the office." Another was "the perception that there was little opportunity to advance."

The Post reported that supervisor support was often lacking. Women also complained that male coworkers often talked down to them. Men gossiped about women. Many jobs did not provide for workers with families. Women had to choose between careers and families. Other women disliked being the only female employee in their workplace.

Research shows that mentoring is important. Researchers interviewed successful women who stuck with engineering. They often said they began their careers with supportive supervisors. What will close the gender divide in engineering? Researchers told the Post it requires top down changes. They must be system-wide. One researcher said leaders must acknowledge that "this is not a womans issue.'" It's "about creating a good work environment."

Critical thinking challenge: How did researchers answer this question: Why aren't there more female engineers?

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/junior/why-aren-t-there-more-female-engineers/

Assigned 50 times

  • lmosquera
    1/26/2015 - 08:50 p.m.

    Culturally spoken, engineering fields are seen as the perfect jobs developed for men through the years. To see this critically, we need to analyze the way people, men and women are being brought up. First, we can see how T.V. defines their professions. For example, girls take care of dolls, feed them, dress them etc.
    Does it mean that girls are just made to become mothers?

    On the other hand, toys for men are doctors, soldiers, politicians, and engineers. For that reason, women are not going to find better places to work as engineers. we can find this situation in any kind of field.

    In conclusion, as it is said in the lecture, we need to make big changes to improve the way men see women, in order to create an equal workplace.

  • glugo
    1/27/2015 - 11:40 p.m.

    I believe, universities and companies should have special programs that allow more women to work and study as engineers. It might be a good way to change the percentage of female engineers figuring at workplaces.

  • lquiros
    2/07/2015 - 12:58 p.m.

    It is a very good post, but I think something is missing. Im a civil engineer and I remember when I studied my career only four out of sixty students were women. I think this is the reason whereby there aren't more female engineers. Namely, the post is focused on what happens after they earn an engineering degree and it isn't before deciding what I'm going to study. In addition, I have had many female co-workers and I have never talked about it to them, On the other hand, I think they are very good, intelligent and responsible people. In conclusion, the main problem is the number of them, it is a statistic issue.

    • glugo
      2/12/2015 - 05:56 a.m.

      I agree with Mr lquiros because universities need to have more options for getting female engineer students.

  • lquiros
    2/12/2015 - 09:06 p.m.

    Hi lmosquera,

    I agree with you, It is a cultural issue. Today, we can see how women little by little show up doing things that were exclusive to men in the past. For example, they play soccer, football, there are female police officers etc. We go on the correct way.

  • dlopezm
    2/22/2015 - 08:45 a.m.

    Why aren't there more female engineers?

    I found two aspects to respond to this question in the article.

    First, the article supports the idea that women requires different work conditions from men. This different conditions are: more supportive supervisors; less hours in a workplace; a gentler and warmer workplace. For all of these reasons, women feel there are poor work conditions.

    Women can be as efficient, intelligent and productive as men or more; yet, they need different conditions to work.

    Second, There is an underestimation of women. They feel there aren't the same opportunities to grow or position at work. Moreover, men talk badly about women in the workplace.

    I think the article is not as conclusive as it might be, because it left some aspects without answers.

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