Women and Minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
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Women and Minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

Upping the Numbers

Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Mary C. Mattis

Advances in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are key factors in contributing to future economic performance, higher living standards and improved quality of life. As dominant white males near retirement and immigration slows, developed countries face a serious skill shortage in critical STEM disciplines. This fascinating book examines why the numbers of women and minorities in STEM are low, outlines the potential consequences of this and prescribes much needed solutions to the problem.
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Chapter 9: Attracting the Engineers of 2020 Today

Susan Staffin Metz


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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