June 22, 2003
June 22, 2003
June 25, 2003
8.1310.1 - 8.1310.13
Why Aren’t There More Women in Engineering: Can We Really Do Anything?
Mary R. Anderson-Rowland Arizona State University
Engineering has always included women; however, engineering has never included very many women. Some basic reasons are explored on why women do or do not choose engineering, why they leave engineering, and why the number of women in engineering is not increasing as rapidly as the numbers of women in medicine and law. These topics include: the lack of engineering curriculum in K-12, the lack of a positive public image of engineers, the lack of a vision on what an engineer really is, and the lack of support for women to succeed in engineering.
Efforts at Arizona State University to increase the recruitment and retention of women in engineering, computer science, and construction are introduced. Recruitment efforts include summer programs for middle school and high school girls, campus events during the academic year, a Bridge Program for entering freshmen women, Saturday Academies for middle school and high school women, and a program with middle school and high school teachers and counselors to acquaint them with engineering. These participants are helped to develop modules on engineering that will be attractive to young women and that will be incorporated in their science and math classes. Retention programs for college women in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences are also presented.
The paper describes lessons learned while developing these programs. How to start and build a program to recruit and to retain women in engineering is examined. Outcomes and results of these efforts are also discussed.
Engineering has always included some women; however, engineering has never included very many women. Only 9% of the engineering workforce is comprised of women, up from about 4% some twenty years ago. Significant increases in the enrollment of women in engineering took place during the 1980s. However, during the 1990s, although the enrollment of undergraduate women in engineering grew from 61,816 in 1990 to 76,027 in 2000, the percentage of undergraduate women in engineering only grew from 16.3% to 19.7%. In addition, women comprised only 20.8% of the engineering Master’s degree enrollment and 19.3% of the PhD degree enrollment in engineering in Fall 2000.1, 2 Of the engineering degrees earned during 2000, women earned only 20.6% of the BS degrees, 21.1% of the MS degrees, and 15.8% of the Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education
Anderson-Rowland, M. (2003, June), Why Aren't There More Women In Engineering: Can We Really Do Anything? Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. https://peer.asee.org/11566
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