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Female engineers, are we setting the right example?

on Fri, 09/26/2014 - 14:09
The latest IPPR report on Women in Engineering makes stark reading.  With women accounting for only 7% of the professional engineering workforce - it seems little is happening that will significantly change that statistic any time soon.  16 appears to be the critical cut off point where girls’ A level choices shut down the possibility of a career in engineering - in particular deciding against Physics A level is a deciding factor.   
The reasons for these academic choices are familiar to Media Woman and the brilliant female scientists we work with.  Engineering - like other STEM subjects are seen as being part of a “man’s world” - masculine and unattractive.  In fact, the reality is that a career in engineering could involve a high flying career with worldwide travel, a good salary and always being in demand because of the overall shortage of engineering expertise.  
So, whose fault is it that girls shy away from such opportunities?  Maybe we are all a little bit to blame for promoting stereotypical views of the careers that are appropriate for young women.  In particular teachers, careersadvisors and female family members should question whether they are doing enough to encourage career choices in STEM subjects.   Also, those female scientists who have succeeded need to get out there and show a younger generation of women the opportunities that are there for the taking.  Lets lead by example and make engineering less masculine and less unattractive to the brilliant female minds of tomorrow!