Upping the Numbers
Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Mary C. Mattis
Chapter 9: Attracting the Engineers of 2020 Today
Susan Staﬃn Metz INTRODUCTION Women have emerged as the most educated segment of our society over the past quarter century, but large numbers still view technical ﬁelds as oﬀ-limits. Imagine the infusion of knowledge and creativity if they were to choose science or engineering at the same rate that they have opted for business, law or medicine. (Building Engineering and Science Talent, 2004, p. 2.) Women of all ethnicities are underrepresented signiﬁcantly throughout the continuum of engineering education and professional practice despite 30 years of research, programming, reports and discussion among the engineering community across all sectors. Why do women continue to opt out of engineering and in fact never consider the ﬁeld as a possible career choice? Funded by public and private foundations, industry and government, signiﬁcant research has been conducted to understand how to engage women in the engineering enterprise. National initiatives and local programming have been implemented to increase preparedness, improve awareness, assess academic climate, improve curriculum and pedagogy, increase scholarships and fellowships, and generate enthusiasm to attract and retain women in the engineering profession. Many factors dissuade women from engineering, particularly the traditional and pervasive stereotypes evident in common sources of information pertaining to what engineers do and who engineers are. Since engineering is virtually absent from the curriculum in K-12 education in the USA, as well as from the mass media, there is a greater reliance upon other information sources. It is imperative that organizations and people who are the purveyors...
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