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# Women in Engineering.61

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## Women in Engineering.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

I'm very fortunate. Since grade school, I was surrounded by smart girls who were going places. This was normal for girls in my world.

These girls were my peers and my friends. Many are friends to this day. Theirs are the faces I see when I think about inequitable treatment of women. I can't imagine anyone telling them, directly or otherwise, that they can't or shouldn't do anything.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

I fell into it. It was the day when we had to choose what we were going to take for post secondary education, I knew I wanted to go to University, so I walked into my guidance counsellors office and said that I love math and I loved science but I didn't want to be a mathematician and I didn't think I wanted to be a scientist. My guidance counsellor suggested engineering, so I said sure...and that's how I ended up here (but I'm happy I did!).

I can definitely see her point. I never pictured myself as an engineer, it wasn't a goal for me. I was honestly leaning more towards surgeon, but I didn't think there was much math in being a doctor so I took a shot at what other jobs my career counsellor could think up.

On an interesting side note, and this is purely speculation, I recently volunteered a team of engineers to run a "science Olympics event". While trying to put my team together (four people including myself) I called every female engineer I could think of in the short amount of time I had to pull the team together (roughly ten). All but one were too tied up with work to be able to come out. I only had one guy reject the invite...and then I had two more volunteer for it. I'm not sure what to draw from this observation. Are women more worried about how they would be viewed if they ran a fun activity during regular work hours? Do we schedule our time more tightly so we don't have slack in our schedule? Or maybe it was just coincidence. Either way, it was like pulling teeth to make sure I had a balanced team so that the highschool students would see more than men in engineering.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

The comments on that article are quite telling.

"But women will get pregnant and will leave the workforce. It's hard to step out and come back."

What sexist bullplop.

_________________________________________
NX8.0, Solidworks 2014, AutoCAD, Enovia V5

### RE: Women in Engineering.

2
Maybe I'm wrong but I can't see coming back to work from having kids as any more difficult than switching jobs!

### RE: Women in Engineering.

And they're #distractinglybeautiful
This article was making the rounds last week.

The comments and commentary from the first article and this one here are sad and disappointing, since it's pretty obvious that not much has happened in this arena in twenty years. The relative proportion of women engineers doesn't seem to have changed substantially, going from 2 out of 40 in a previous job, to a high of maybe 12 out of 100 in a more recent job. There are, however, many more women in software engineering, so that's something, and, the Twitter feed shows that there are lots of women in many science-related jobs with a healthy sense of humor and irony.

TTFN
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### RE: Women in Engineering.

@kacarrol,

Not to mention that I know several successful engineers who have taken a sabbatical and hiked around Europe or gone on Safari for longer than the average maternity leave. Not to mention that I took paternity leave when my son was born, and had no trouble coming back to work and picking up where I left off in a leadership role, even. There's nothing special about time-off being "for a birth" than it is for a lengthy vacation. If you go completely out of practice for 7-8 years, yea, that could be a challenge, but that's not very typical, I don't expect.

_________________________________________
NX8.0, Solidworks 2014, AutoCAD, Enovia V5

### RE: Women in Engineering.

@JNieman - definitely agree on the 7-8 years. I just look at how much I've forgotten from University, and that hasn't been quite a decade yet either! But maternity leave in Canada is max 1 year, which is nothing (especially if you split it like you did, and I see more and more guys doing that...which makes me really happy!)

### RE: Women in Engineering.

This.

http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/NSF_Stemming%20...

And, the fact that I still have all the pressure to be supermom - I'm supposed to be both Bill Gates and Donna Reed. Not happening. Luckily, husband agrees fully.

Not to mention the number of times I've been told I was hired for a project because I'm female - not because I'm blasted good at my job.

It gets really, really tiresome...

Please remember: we're not all guys!

### RE: Women in Engineering.

#### Quote (kacarrol)

Do we schedule our time more tightly so we don't have slack in our schedule?

Yes, I think that's something girls are generally very good at doing. Most men I know are happy to deal with things as they emerge, while their wives and girlfriends plan ahead more. Depending on your job, both approaches can be advantageous: for example, project engineering tends to need the structured approach, where field-based workers often depend on the ability to make accurate decisions without the luxury of time to analyse them. Home life needs elements of both.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

We have a legal requirement to accommodate a 1 yr mat leave here, which can be taken by one parent or shared by the two. We've had men and women take it, in whole or in part. Because we're now a large enough office to handle being short a body or two, we work around it. Is it disruptive to business? Absolutely- but way less disruptive than when a key staff member quits or has an accident and needs to spend months in hospital, or any number of other things that can and do happen- because unlike those eventualities, you get plenty of notice to PLAN around the person's mat leave. I have no idea how a much smaller office could manage to handle it though- it would be very tough to lose your sole engineer or even your #3, for a whole year. Tt's a legal requirement to keep that person's job open for them, so you figure it out and work around it.

Is the risk of service interruption due to mat leave, a deterrent to hiring young women for engineering positions? I'd say it absolutely must be, especially in small offices, in ANY responsible position irrespective of profession. Call it unfair if you like, but it is impossible to imagine employers divorcing themselves completely from that kind of discrimination- ever. Hold on a minute- I just imagined a scenario! OK, so it will remain so until they start requiring a matching, mandatory (and paid) paternity leave such that all persons of reproductive age represent exactly the same risk of having to be off the job for a year with each kid they have, irrespective of sex. Is that likely to happen? I'd give it a diminishingly small probability.

As to the proportions of male and female engineers: in chemical engineering at the university we recruit co-op students from, the female to male ratio was around 30% 25 years ago when I graduated and is now over 40%. Proportions in civil and systems design engineering are similar. At proportions like that, I see no need to be concerned about the fact that some of the other subdiscipolines- electrical/computer and mechanical- having somewhat lower proportions of women. On the job, we find vastly more variation in performance between individuals than we do between the sexes.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

In the USA I believe it is illegal to consider a woman's possibility of maternity leave during the hiring process. That's basically the definition of sexist discrimination. I've been told it's illegal to ask, during an interview, if a female candidate is pregnant or considering having children soon.

Also, you said that your country allows for maternity/paternity leave and that it can be shared by men/women and that you see them share it so. So how could you say that one gender is significantly more likely than another to leave for a kid? I know of two friends right now who quit work to be a stay-at-home dad, immediately after the birth, while the wife works. So in some situations you'd have the woman taking 100%, the man taking 100%, or a mix. In the USA, paternity leave is growing steadily, so I do not believe it's a "diminishingly small" probability.

All discrimination and sexism aside, it seems illogical to consider a woman's potential as child-bearer in her interviewing process. Add the sexism and discrimination back in and now it just seems deplorable.

_________________________________________
NX8.0, Solidworks 2014, AutoCAD, Enovia V5

### RE: Women in Engineering.

There's the ideal case, and there's the reality. Biases of all sorts exist; it's unclear to me whether this is any more deplorable than the fact that WASPier(?), taller, more masculine people are more likely to get hired and get higher pay.

For the specific bias against potential pregnancies, there's a conscious rationale, however misguided, while the bias toward taller is not even a conscious bias.

TTFN
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### RE: Women in Engineering.

2
Deplorable it may be, depending on your perspective and values- but it very obviously happens. Asking direct questions (how old are you, are you pregnant etc.) can be made illegal- and should be. But you need to acknowledge that hiring anyone is fundamentally a process of discrimination between the candidate you hire and the many others that you don't- often differentiating between candidates who are rather subtly different in terms of their apparent fit for the position. That a person is statistically (greatly) more likely to need to be away from the job for several years out of their first ten on the job is actually material to their potential job performance, and considering that is is not arbitrary discrimination on a basis such as race, religion or sexual orientation etc. which has absolutely no correlation with job performance. Yes, either sex may leave on a mat/pat leave, but statistically it is far more likely to be a woman than a man taking the lion's share of that year of leave.

As far as my own company is concerned- we can, and do, choose to completely ignore this concern because a) we have proven to ourselves, by experience, that we can work around it, and b) losing the productive years of exceptional candidates merely because we're worried about a potential mat or pat leave is clearly not in our business interests as we understand them. But in a three person office, you're kidding yourself if you think that it isn't a serious consideration in the mind of any hiring manager! The hiring managers that have personally made that observation to me are female, if that matters.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

Molten, you have made a couple of points I was going to raise in a more eloquent manner hopefully less likely to offend, thanks.

"Maybe I'm wrong but I can't see coming back to work from having kids as any more difficult than switching jobs!"

Switching jobs you're going from doing engineering for employer A to employer B.

Coming back to engineering after being out of it for potentially several years on the other hand can take a while to get back up to speed, let alone what you didn't learn while out. I was out of Engineering for about a year (and part time working remotely for a year or so before that) when first came to the US and it took me a little while to get back up to speed despite having dabbled on my own time.

SLTA - is that the same report you shared before that as I recall basically boiled down to women on average being less willing to take <insert euphemism for unpleasant job/work aspects> than their male counterparts? Or if my memory is grossly off then I apologize for any inferred sexism.

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### RE: Women in Engineering.

Along a similar line, when I was in college back in the mid-60's, I did some freelance photography as well as some studio work (but NO WEDDINGS). By then they had made it illegal to ask for a person's race on employment applications and so for a couple of years, companies started to request that a photo be included with each job application which meant that for at least those few years I was in demand taking and developing basically what were 'Passport photos' for seniors applying for jobs (the extra money helped put food on the table for me and my family). Of course, that was soon ruled illegal as well, but it was amazing back then as to what lengths some companies would go to weed-out the 'undesirables' and here we were a world class university producing some of the best qualified engineers in the mid-west yet crap like that still happened on a regular basis. Of course, after they couldn't demand photos anymore, companies started to send more people onto campus to do pre-employment interviews where they could accomplish the same thing without running afoul of the laws.

John R. Baker, P.E.
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To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

@moltenmetal of course the hiring process is discrimination. I was speaking specifically of gender discrimination and I thought that was clear and obvious. Not all discrimination is equal. Some is terrible. You cannot equate discrimination of skills/experience and discrimination of gender. It's preposterous to equate all manner of discrimination. I hope I'm misreading your intent in the first few sentences of your recent post.

To treat all women as if they will be taking "several years of their first ten on the job" is ludicrous. That's not maternity leave. That's quitting your job to be a stay-at-home parent. Maternity leave in the USA can be less than a week for some women.

And how do you know if the woman you're interviewing will, or can, even have children at all?

It just doesn't make /logical/ sense to sweep someone away based upon so many shaky presumptions. There are so many things a human being /CAN/ do in their time that it seems maternity leave is a small issue of concern. What percentage of men become alcoholics versus women? Do you want an alcoholic engineer? How do you pick which statistics to use in your hiring decision and which to not? Why is maternity more valid than any of the countless things humans do that impact their time at work?

_________________________________________
NX8.0, Solidworks 2014, AutoCAD, Enovia V5

### RE: Women in Engineering.

#### Quote (JNieman)

And how do you know if the woman you're interviewing will, or can, even have children at all?

You don't, but you can play the odds - unfair though it is to those impacted.

#### Quote (JNieman)

Why is maternity more valid than any of the countless things humans do that impact their time at work?

It's probably not, just a lot easier to estimate who may be affected by it.

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### RE: Women in Engineering.

It just sounds, to me, like the possibility of maternity leave is being used to justify pre-existing prejudice. That's the only conclusion I can imagine as to why one would willfully cling to illogical choices.

_________________________________________
NX8.0, Solidworks 2014, AutoCAD, Enovia V5

### RE: Women in Engineering.

3
JNieman: I don't have anything to do with hiring people in the US- nor do I think that it is at all in the interest of an employer, or for an employee of either sex, to try to come back to work a week after a birth! I know many female engineers in the US who returned to work very rapidly- in six weeks or less- and as a parent, to me that seems very sad.

I never equated discrimination on the basis of skills with discrimination on the basis of gender- you drew that inference, and incorrectly I might add. In fact, if you read my post, I stated that we observe far more variability amongst engineering candidates as individuals than we do between the sexes, which in our minds proves that there is no performance difference between the sexes that matters to us from a hiring perspective- and that includes the potential time off for child-rearing. Furthermore, we make that assessment primarily by observing performance on the job while the candidates are co-op students here, rather than relying on interviews and other nearly useless recruitment tactics- that allows us to set aside irrelevant criteria that often stand out in an interview-based process (it's tough to fake your way through what amounts to two four-month interviews!).

I merely pointed out that in a milieu where there is a legal requirement to hold a job open for a parent on mat/pat leave for a full year for each child- and with a mean family size of 2 therefore likely TWO years- what sex you are and whether you are of child-rearing age becomes a material point to the likelihood of whether or not you'll be off for a year or more with a legal requirement for your job to be held open by the employer for your return. Is that a SMALL issue? We know we can work around it, and we get plenty of notice to plan, but we do not consider it a "small" issue! If you think employers don't consider that to be a potentially meaningful, material issue when making employment decisions, especially amongst small employers who have much less ability to react to big changes in their headcount, then you're kidding yourself. Is that an argument against the mat/pat leave law here, and the ~10k worth of UI premiums that go along with it? Not in my view. But to expect that the issue will merely be ignored as minor/irrelevant is ABSURD. Is that totally unfair discrimination against every woman who chooses not to or is unable to have children? Absolutely- no argument. How can you know that in advance? Clearly you can't! How can you know that the guy you hire won't end up taking the year off instead? You can't know that either, though the odds are pretty good that it will not be the case. Discrimination on this rather flimsy basis happens, guaranteed. Aside from being indignant, minimizing the REAL issue behind it and saying, "It shouldn't be allowed!", do you have any useful suggestions on what might be done about it? A very similar argument comes up in relation to country of origin. Given equal education and years of experience- assuming those could ever be evaluated so objectively- the candidate who was educated in and who obtained their experience in the local labour market is actually more qualified than one who obtained both outside the local labour market. Rejecting the immigrant in favour of the local candidate in that case is not xenophobia- it's a minimization of an actual, real hiring risk, which is what hiring managers are tasked with as an objective. It can be demonstrated that employers are often distracted by appearance, assertiveness, affability and articulateness, using these somewhat irrelevant factors as a proxy for real but difficult to measure true performance metrics. This is definitely true in the interview process (which is why we reject it whenever possible as noted above). In some organizations, these (mostly) irrelevant bases continue to influence consideration for promotions etc. and can determine an entire career path. You can learn to fake some of these, but in very practical terms you're stuck with others. Some are highly correlated with how wealthy your parents are, or other issues completely beyond your personal control. So it goes- we don't live in a pure meritocracy, and never ever will. And even if we did, the attributes that make an ideal employee do not necessarily make an idea citizen and surely do not make an ideal parent. ### RE: Women in Engineering. That's a great article. It falls in line with other "Women in Engineering" articles I've read. My story - I decided back in my sophomore year in High School (1984) I wanted to be an Certified Public Accountant. I was good at math and my guidance counselor suggested it. I was working full time in an accounting office and taking college courses at night (appx 1988/1989). While working that full time job I realized I was bored not only at work but also in my college courses. I was talking about that problem with my peers at work when the bosses friend (who was in town for just one week) happened to walk past our office and heard me mention college. He poked his head in our office and asked to talk a little about my future. When I described my dilemma he asked if I liked science. "Absolutely I love science" I answered. You need to look into changing your major to engineering. I called a local college that luckily just happened to be having an open house for engineering and I took the tour - I was immediately drawn to buildings and bridges and knew I had found my new major. Almost thirty years later I'm a structural engineer and absolutely love what I do - Yeah! But like many of my female peers - I stumbled upon engineering and could easily have missed out. We as women (and of course men can help with this too) need to make sure that the K-12 girls/young women understand that women are perfectly capable of being engineers. I also like the idea of teaching girls only classes - at least in the beginner level engineering courses. Not all young girls would need that but enough would feel more comfortable NOT asking 'stupid questions' in front of the boys. Again - I'm talking about introductory courses - if she can't speak up in front of men then she will have lots of problems later in the workforce. ### RE: Women in Engineering. 6 Molten, I agree with you that, especially for small firms, parental leave can cause non-trivial business related concerns. I feel that you also agree that discriminating against women (age 18 to 35?) because they have a statistically higher chance of taking parental leave is wrong. But the crux of the matter is these two issues are not equal. Discriminating against women is a much bigger concern which trumps the business related concerns. Frankly, it’s such a perverse twisting of priorities when we’d consider the two to be equal. Note the “we” in the last sentence does not refer to you, molten, but to the culture of developed nations. To put this in perspective, every aspect of us has been developed over billions of years of evolution for one main purpose – procreation of our genes. But now, this is seen as some nuisance to business. And while we certainly don’t want to prevent people from having kids, we just won’t hire them if they do…or, worse yet but more accurately, if the hiring manager thinks they will. We may not agree with this practice but, hey, a business has to make money, right? So, at the end of the day, we consider it “reasonable” or at least “understandable” that women can be discriminated against based off the single greatest biological driver in order to protect the profitability of businesses. From a societal prospective, proper care and nurturing of young children (especially in the first 18 months) is essential in cognitive, emotional and social development. Most traits that make for positive, productive members of our society stem from this period of development. But again, the business (which has zero contingency plan…but, hey, that’s not the business’s problem, that’s the women’s problem) cannot handle having our employee away for 12 months, so we won’t hire them. And, again, we might not agree with this practice but it’s “understandable”. This is wrong, very wrong. What’s more, the entire logic behind not hiring a women because the hiring manager feels they might have a kid and might take maternity leave is so stupid. Under the same logic, I should never hire anyone incredibly bright and well-qualified. You see, incredibly bright and well-qualified people tend to get lots of good offers from other businesses which they might take at some point. So, you should never hire any incredibly bright and well-qualified people because they are flight risks. I mean, that’s worse than a 1 year leave of absence! Oh, and you better not hire fat people. Because, you see, fat people tend to die younger than healthy people. Having them die before they retire is a major inconvenience to your HR department. Think of all the paper work and finding a replacement; no thank you! Also, make sure to figure out if the candidate has a child with a severe ailment. Because parents with sick kids need to take lots of time off to take care of their kids. And god forbid the kid dies! Then you have multi-year bereavement leave on your hands! That’s such a nuisance! You know who are great employees? Migrant workers! Their residency is attached to their employment, so they cannot leave the company otherwise it’s bye-bye for them! Also, we can pay them pennies-on-the-dollar of what they are actually worth! Unions and women’s rights groups have fought tirelessly to put in (and keep) legislation against such discriminatory practices. However, as you’ve rightly pointed out, these discriminatory practices still happen. You’ve asked, quite reasonably, what’s to be done about this? The answer lies in attacking the very concept of equating the two issues (discriminatory hiring practices and business related concerns). Culturally, we’ve slowly fell into demonizing taking time off work to take care of your children or at the very least, institutionally, making women choose between career and family (while also, paradoxically, expecting them to do both). We’ve increasingly been putting pressure on the employee to work around child birth and raising and not putting pressure on the employer to work around their employees taking time off to birth and raise children (employees need to flexible, employers don’t). We need to change this culture. We need to enforce the anti-discrimination laws we have in place. We need to encourage women to go into whatever career they want and not allow discriminatory practices to dissuade them (which plays hand-in-hand with enforcing the laws). We need people to understand that we can appreciate that parental leave can cause business related concerns but we should not justify alleviating those issues at the expense of women’s rights and labour rights. Ultimately, this is about giving women the legally-protected and culturally-supported freedom to pursue both a career and a family if they so choose to. ### RE: Women in Engineering. So, other than unfunded mandates, what can/should society do to make it easier for businesses to work around parental leave - especially long term? Setting up some kind of 'refresher training/education' or similar might be one thing but far from the panacea. Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you) What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"? ### RE: Women in Engineering. I think societal constructs play a role here, but I don't think that is the only factor in the overall trends that we see. I don't want to get into a huge essay about evolution, but try to look at these patterns from an evolutionary perspective as well. (Hint: gender roles play a huge part in reproduction, which is an enormous part of what influences evolution). Keep in mind that you can draw a rational conclusion here without alienating women from engineering. It would be stupid to do that and I honestly don't know anybody who would raise eyebrows at a female for becoming an engineer. A male nurse or CNA, on the other hand?? I think its fair to say that women are more genetically predisposed to be care takers than males are, which is probably caused by their biological role in maternity. Those patterns lend themselves to medical and education field very well. No, these are not binding statements and they don't mean "women cant be engineers", so don't play the sexist card on me just so you don't have to ignore this idea! I hate that lol. If you want to get to the bottom of this you have to consider the idea that nature is a factor here... Now lets talk about getting more women into the trades! "Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin ### RE: Women in Engineering. Humans are quite far from being controlled by evolutionary urges. So far that I think it's silly to pander to evolutionary concepts in tailoring modern society. That's the "lizard brain" in us which is a minor and very small part of what humanity's identity is. We've grown beyond standard evolutionary needs. And who still bats an eye at male nurses? _________________________________________ NX8.0, Solidworks 2014, AutoCAD, Enovia V5 ### RE: Women in Engineering. Discrimination on the basis of factors which do not affect job performance is wrong. Period. Full stop. Do we agree on that? Discrimination on bases that affect a business financially is another matter- a much, much more complicated one. Let's do some thought experiments here: Is it wrong to select candidates from "better" schools preferentially to those from "poorer" schools, all other factors being equal? One can argue that the "better" schools are harder to get in to, and the entrance barrier therefore serves as a means of pre-selection amongst large numbers of candidates on the basis of actual merit- marks as well as other non-academic achievement- as well as (arguably) offering at least the potential of a superior education (attracting better or at least more renowned instructors etc.). However, in most places, where education is not fully subsidized by the state, favouring candidates from schools of higher reputation is, in fact, favouring one socioeconomic class over another- it's favouring a group whose parents are richer than the parents of another group. That's always wrong too, isn't it? Don't we believe in the equality of persons? Is it always wrong for a business to consider physical beauty a criterion for hiring, in any role? 100%, in every case, or just in cases where the person has no public role? What about disability? Physical disability? Mental disability, i.e. in the form of a learning disability? I fully agree that discriminating against women of reproductive age solely as a result of concern over potential job interruption due to child-rearing is wrong, in absolute terms. I'd further argue that because we see much more variability in abilities between engineering candidates than we do between the sexes of candidates, doing so is ALSO a really bad business decision. I agree that educating the business "public" is a long-term path forward. I merely question whether or not it is reasonable to expect private businesses to be the means by which social changes toward a society which matches our ideals in regard to equality is realistic. To accomplish it, you'd need to replace the entire notion of "merit" in hiring with something else- or to redefine that notion of "merit" along lines which are not 100% aligned with the interests of those private businesses. What would replace that kind of "merit", or on the other hand, the reduction of hire risk etc., to achieve these societal equality goals is not at all clear to me. I can tell you that the methods which seem to be used in unionized environments are not all that egalitarian in practice! Rather, they're very often nepotistic, tolerant of mediocrity and protective of incompetence in my personal experience. One method would be to set a quota based on the current composition of the labour market in a particular profession, assuming you have data of sufficient quality to make that possible. Once you're a business of a certain size, you must by law have a staff which has the same proportion of (male/female, homo/trans/hetero, race x/y/z etc.) as is found in the general population. Each new hire would need to be selected only from that subset of candidates which meet your quota. That's still a merit-based process, but with an over-riding "egalitarian" principle. But you cannot in that case avoid the certainty that you will be rejecting candidates of superior objective merit, purely on the basis of criteria that do not materially affect job performance- a form of discrimination that we have already agreed is absolutely wrong! In my mind, that is an extremely undesirable process, and outcome. I honestly think we're headed in the right direction in the long term. Societal norms and values may change too slowly for some, but they do tend to change for the better. The public sphere can provide leadership, education and guidance without being prescriptive and heavy-handed (which inevitably generates a backlash which can be counterproductive to say the least). I also think we can do a lot of harm to what we desire- or seem to - a society based on true intrinsic merit rather than irrelevant criteria which in fact have nothing whatsoever to do with real merit- if we try to force an ill-conceived notion of equity that transcends merit. ### RE: Women in Engineering. #### Quote: So, other than unfunded mandates, what can/should society do to make it easier for businesses to work around parental leave - especially long term? In my very humble opinion, we as a country need to decide what we willing to pay for a woman to take time off work and have a kid, and we should pay that to every woman out of the public dime, regardless of that woman's salary. Then if a company wants to do something else for her, the company can do that on a voluntary basis. Forcing companies to bear burdens for women employees that they don't bear for male employees creates a disincentive to hiring women. If we want things to be fair, then we need to make them fair. Hydrology, Drainage Analysis, Flood Studies, and Complex Stormwater Litigation for Atlanta and the South East - http://www.campbellcivil.com ### RE: Women in Engineering. In one extreme we have this anecdote Bill Gates has recited: #### Quote (Bill Gates, probably) Bill Gates recalls once being invited to speak in Saudi Arabia and finding himself facing a segregated audience. Four-fifths of the listeners were men, on the left. The remaining one-fifth were women, all covered in black cloaks and veils, on the right. A partition separated the two groups. Toward the end, in the question-and-answer session, a member of the audience noted that Saudi Arabia aimed to be one of the Top 10 countries in the world in technology by 2010 and asked if that was realistic. “Well, if you’re not fully utilizing half the talent in the country,” Gates said, “you’re not going to get too close to the Top 10.” The small group on the right erupted in wild cheering. And it's an important point, in my opinion. We can't create an environment that disenfranchises women from contributing their potential to entire industries. The last engineering firm I worked for was almost all male. For the first handful of years, the only women in the company worked in office administration capacities. When I left we had one young woman working as an EIT. Whenever the office admin ladies required maternity leave (three times for two women) it was no big deal and we all covered the extra work. One of the owners took over billing, we all shouldered the phones, someone else took care of payroll, we distributed clients by name and handled the correspondence that was done by the woman who was temporarily gone. When I took paternity leave, my workload was shouldered by others, and I was always on-hand to advise by phone, and on occasion I'd come into the office and assist. In a small business, I think a good team environment can shoulder things in better ways than some large companies, because typically in a small business, you have more "multi-talented" people. Before we HAD the capacity to hire purely overhead administrators / office assistants, we all did those tasks ourselves. The workload were things we were trained on and still knew how to handle (or at least with some refresher training, we could) and things went smoothly. Obviously for an engineer, it comes with different challenges than an office assistant, or a CAD drafter, or even a project manager. Someone in a design capacity on projects that may be spanning years... there are more difficulties. I do not believe they are insurmountable, however. I've never been in the military, but I have worked with several Marines in my time. One of the phrases a couple of them taught me was "Semper Gumby" and at first it made me chuckle but it's actually a good, clever reminder about a very important credo, especially in small businesses. "Always be flexible" - don't be one of those types that sits there saying "That's not my job," or "It's not my problem". Instead accept the challenges in front of you and do what it takes to satisfy the currently unfulfilled requirements. If it is the labor or contributions of an employee, find a way to create redundancy for the sake of security. Typically a person won't take leave from work until very, very late in pregnancy (assuming fair-enough health) or until after birth. So it's not like there isn't a large amount of warning that you're going to be in a bind. You can hire a 'temp' or 'contractor' for many positions, if the rest of the company can't shoulder it alone. _________________________________________ NX8.0, Solidworks 2014, AutoCAD, Enovia V5 ### RE: Women in Engineering. Just realized we've got a bit side tracked here, the issues related to women's role in reproduction aren't just confined to engineering, and yet in many other sectors the proportion of women has increased significantly - or in others they've been the majority for a long time. So, presumably then at a fundamental level these issues are not insurmountable, unless there is something unique about engineering. Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you) What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"? ### RE: Women in Engineering. Humans will never ever be without the influence of evolution. Evolution is what MADE us this way. Until sexual attraction and genetic traits/genetics stop existing in humans, everything we do can be traced back to effects evolution has on us. "Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin ### RE: Women in Engineering. #### Quote: Just realized we've got a bit side tracked here, the issues related to women's role in reproduction aren't just confined to engineering, and yet in many other sectors the proportion of women has increased significantly - or in others they've been the majority for a long time. So, presumably then at a fundamental level these issues are not insurmountable, unless there is something unique about engineering. I, as an engineer, would contend that most other professions are basically a bunch of BS. And that it's a lot easier to take 3 months off of a BS job than an engineering job. I am willing to admit I have a biased perspective, though. ;) Hydrology, Drainage Analysis, Flood Studies, and Complex Stormwater Litigation for Atlanta and the South East - http://www.campbellcivil.com ### RE: Women in Engineering. Especially since three months is the average length of the employment look-ahead for engineers at most of their places of work. ### RE: Women in Engineering. 2 After reading this thread, y'all seriously ask why women aren't keen on engineering? Good grief. Please remember: we're not all guys! ### RE: Women in Engineering. Don't get me wrong, SLTA. My personal experience after 34 years has been that more than 90% of the female engineers I have ever worked with are better than 90% of all the male engineers I have ever worked with. Oh no! By that rationalization, there is a possibility that I might really be a woman. Oh well. At least I'm not an MBA. Seriously, though... Some 20 years ago I worked at a place where a woman was hired as a project engineer. After 3 months, the classic "performance probationary period", she cleared her performance appraisal and within days applied for maternity leave. She was subsequently terminated and, allegedly, she sued for wrongful dismissal, and apparently, won. I'm not sure which side of the ordeal was the more scuzzy, but it's one of those situations where no matter what side you're on, stay neutral. ### RE: Women in Engineering. It troubles me when our profession is sold like soap to candidates of either sex. We've been in an oversupply relative to demand for at least two decades, and yet there seems among some people an almost religious zeal for encouraging others to pursue our oversupplied profession. Worse still, I see people who are not members of our profession, recruiting people to join our profession, based on the false presumption that there are too few of us, or to achieve some political/social agenda. That is NOT in the interest of the candidates in my opinion. There's a huge difference between keeping options and opportunities open and equal, and falsely promoting a profession as "in demand" when the statistics conclusively prove otherwise! The parental leave issue is a concern in every profession- I'm certain of that. In engineering, is this a factor in the persistence of the sex imbalance in our profession? Without a doubt. But because we have so little public role as a profession, the present sex imbalance doesn't trouble me any more than the fact that at present, the medical student population is more than 50% female. Are we missing out as a society because some exceptional candidates for our profession become discouraged due to ill treatment or selection bias arising from sex stereotyping? Absolutely- just like it's a certainty that we're still losing some exceptional candidates of both sexes as a result of economic disadvantage. It's tough to legislate changes in societal values and norms, though we do try- firing people because they need parental leave is no longer tolerated as an example, and that's a huge improvement. The only profession where sex imbalance troubles me at present is teaching, where it can be shown that the lack of equality of mentorship/role modelling can be detrimental to the educational outcomes of either sex. Right now there are problems with too many females teaching elementary school (where arguably this issue matters most) and too few females teaching math and science in high schools- and that clearly has to have an effect on the number of females entering math/science oriented programs. ### RE: Women in Engineering. I think that one thing an employer could do is offer on site daycare. I bet employees would be happier to return to work, and work longer hours, if they knew their children were right there and you could drop in anytime to see them. Just to clarify, the parent would still be paying the fee for the daycare. I find it interesting that some other businesses have picked up on this, particularly GoodLife and Ikea, but I haven't seen any traction in the employment world. ### RE: Women in Engineering. As a parent, that'd sure make my life immensely easier and make me a much more loyal employee. That value would be incredible. _________________________________________ NX8.0, Solidworks 2014, AutoCAD, Enovia V5 ### RE: Women in Engineering. Logically one might assume that industries with a high proportion of professional women (teaching, nursing) would be first in line to offer on-site childcare. Not round here. Cheers Greg Locock New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? ### RE: Women in Engineering. I took paternal leave when we adopted, because my wife, being self-employed, didn't get such a thing (in Canada, it's part of Employment Insurance). When I came back to work, I worked half days for a while, then came back full time on the understanding that I would have to be flexible so that I could get the kids to and from preschool, school, and events. Luckily, I have a flexible boss, and we worked it out. Sure, I've paid the price career-wise, I know that, but I have two great daughters, one just finished high school with high honours and a 94% average, the other is in high school with a 97% average. It's a fair trade. Oddly enough, one of my university classmates is at one of the major consultants round here, and he was 'Mr Mom' to his kids, and worked part time, too. ### RE: Women in Engineering. I do have to say that this thread is a fine example of the working world still seeing women as baby factories first and foremost. I guess that pretty much answers the OP as to why some of the old "boys club" professions (even if they've slowly lost that status, partially) don't attract more females. _________________________________________ NX8.0, Solidworks 2014, AutoCAD, Enovia V5 ### RE: Women in Engineering. Hey KENAT - cheers, my friend. I can't even say how much your comment means to me. Please remember: we're not all guys! ### RE: Women in Engineering. I (we) the engineers in this forum did not create the prejudice. But right or wrong, it does exist. I have seen abuse on both sides of it. I remain neutral. It sucks, because it is an affront against the very good women (engineers) I have worked with, better than men. Over the years, I think I have personally hired 80% women and 20% men, and not a single hiring decision I have ever made has ever been wrong. I just hire the person who demonstrates to me that they can take problems and make them go away so I won't have to. ### RE: Women in Engineering. From my perspective, there are three main areas where women face deterrents to joining and staying in the engineering profession – the work place, the hiring stage and the decision to pursue engineering. The Work Place It is very difficult to enjoy working in an environment where everyone is significantly different than you. Directly or indirectly, women can feel alienated from and by male colleges. This, of course, is not universally true but is broad enough to be a serious deterrent. It’s not just being “different” than the average college that is difficult but that the culture around common “shop-talk” in many engineering environments is degrading to women. The reality of working in a male dominated work environment is the coffee-break conversations are male dominated. This involves the “nagging wife” stories, tales of last weekend’s sexual exploitations or, at best, the problems with the local sports team. This is an uncomfortable and offensive environment to work in for women. What’s worse, is that when someone finally decides to complain about the offensive nature of these conversations, the reaction of the guilty party is almost always “You can’t say anything this day and age! This new-age political correctness BS is an infringement on my right to free speech!” (as if they are the ones being discriminated against…). While I understand it’s not a perfect system, establishing quotas for female employees does help with this issue of alienation. Furthermore, the more people like me in a work place, the more I can “see myself” working there. Of course, more importantly, we need to stop sexist “shop-talk” from occurring. This requires changes in our culture – which are difficult but I think slowly improving. While there certainly is a fair share of cads (no, not CAD) in all generations , more often the younger generations have more progressive views on gender. The Hiring Stage This has been discussed above. I fail to see how it’s not relevant to the topic but I feel enough has been said on this already. Decision to Pursue Engineering This is by far the most difficult issue. While exposure to female engineer role models and other initiatives such as in the OP’s article are great steps forward, the underlying theme of cultural impediments still lurks below the surface. As a society, gender roles are so ingrained in us. This starts even with the way we treat babies. A study dressed the same new born baby in blue and pink and viewed how adults interacted with it. When the baby was wearing pink, adults were more likely to say how beautiful the baby was and cuddle it more. When the baby was wearing blue, adults would comment on how big the baby was and would be more playful with it. Given a doll, a truck and a ring, adults were much more likely to give the baby a doll when it was wearing pink and a truck when it was wearing blue. Furthermore, results show that on a visit to a science museum, parents are 3x more likely to explain the exhibit to boys than girls (source). Here is a video of great little experiment that highlights how ingrained gender roles are in our society (I think I’ve linked it before but it’s well worth watching the first 3-4 minutes if you haven’t seen it). We condition our children to gravitate to certain professions before we know it or without knowing it. This fact is sometimes missed when people claim to the false idea that “men are biologically more attune to mathematics and science than women”. The difference in performance in mathematics and science between women and men is due to cultural conditioning (in early childhood development and later in life), not biology (see Spelke 2005 or Halpern et al 2007 as a few such example). So even before the many external deterrents that women face, we as a society implant self-deterrents into young women. I think this is a huge issue that extends well beyond women in engineering to women in society as a whole. We encourage boys to be successful. While we “encourage” girls to be beautiful and well-liked. The difference is troubling. Frankly, it is ignorant to believe that “women are free to do what they want, so why should we be concerned with number of female engineers?”. Legally, they might be free but culturally they are discouraged from birth onward. ### RE: Women in Engineering. Not having participated in this thread, I read it. All I learned was that men and women read the same thing differently. ### RE: Women in Engineering. SNORGY- you're a god then. I've made some wrong hiring decisions and am happy to admit it, because I learned from them. I learned a lot about human nature from the process of interviewing and selecting candidates, then seeing how they perform on the job. The consequences of a bad hire can be dire- it's a difficult business. I make sure my interview pool contains both men and women, in proportions similar to the source pool - that's easy for co-op students as the class percentages by sex are known. I do that deliberately to the extent that I can, given the tendency of some parents to give their kids unisex names, and the fact that names in some cultures don't betray which sex they are. I don't bother to dig through the resumes for sex-related cues, though that's easy enough to do. Then I hire based on my own assessment of both merit and interest in the position as assessed by testing. Sometimes it's all women, as it was this past term. Sometimes it's all men. Then we let performance in the actual job be the indicator of who we should keep, unless demand or lack thereof forces our hand. Interviews are rubbish, even after a lot of practice and feedback- it's still a crapshoot. We find based on on-the-job performance, our female candidates are every bit as competent as our male ones. Whereas the males used to come in with more practical, hands-on skills than the women had, which gave them the upper hand, that advantage has disappeared- there are few candidates that come in with any meaningful hands-on any more, beyond perhaps a robotic competition or the like. So we teach them that, men and women alike, to the best of our ability. ### RE: Women in Engineering. Great stuff, rconnor, but it runs deeper than that. I remember taking my 3-yr old son to Walmart's toy aisles and we were following along the aisles, and we turned and he refused to go down the next aisle. I asked him why and he replied, "It's pink, it's for girls." Even that awful purple beast's show had gender bias when careers were discussed: chef-boy firefighter-boy teacher-girl doctor-girl nurse-girl So, by age 3 to 6, just like their language skills, their notions of gender associations are already formed. TTFN FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies [IMG http://tinyurl.com/7ofakss] Need help writing a question or understanding a reply? forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Of course I can. I can do anything. I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! There is a homework forum hosted by engineering.com: http://www.engineering.com/AskForum/aff/32.aspx ### RE: Women in Engineering. #### Quote (moltenmetal) ...given the tendency of some parents to give their kids unisex names... I know what you mean; we have four granddaughters by our oldest son named, Tyler, Sydney, Ryan and Lynsey (please note that the letter 'y' is the second letter in each name, and before you ask, ALL of them have the SAME middle-name, 'Spall', their mother's maiden name). And while our granddaughter by son #2 was also given an unusual name, Paloma Elise (her mother is from Mexico), it will at least never be confused with a boys name. Now it could have been worse, our second son's wife had two boys by a previous marriage and they're named Cosmo and Pirate. But that being said, when I first started working in engineering, some 49 years ago as a summer hire doing drafting, I worked with a guy named Beverly (he preferred to be called 'Bev'). John R. Baker, P.E. Product 'Evangelist' Product Engineering Software Siemens PLM Software Inc. Digital Factory Cypress, CA Siemens PLM: UG/NX Museum: To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be. ### RE: Women in Engineering. Rconner, sorry but your work place stuff sounds a bit sexist itself. Is female employees discussing what happened on the bachelor or some stars latest hair cut... any more sexist than the sports talk? Heck, I'm less interested in most of the sports that get discussed (football (soccer) back in the UK and NBA/NFL/NHL/Golf here in the US) than many of the female employees who I hear talking about them. I’ve certainly heard plenty of female employees complaining about their significant others with comparable frequency to my male colleagues. I've been in work situations where the females in the office openly discussed the top ten most attractive male colleague list. As to talk of sexual conquests, that type of conversation doesn't really belong in the work place no matter what sex etc. - unless maybe you work in the adult entertainment industry or something I suppose. However, I know of at least some women do discuss this kind of thing at work – perhaps a bit more subtly than men but it happens. I will caveat the above by saying few of the female colleagues I’ve had have been engineers, most have been in other roles. There is also the possibility that some of the women only partook in some of the above because it was the culture of the place, not fundamentally because they thought it was OK. (I’m thinking of a photo from a company holiday party taken a couple of decades ago Other formerly male dominated professions now have a much higher ratio of female employees - so fundamentally why should these types of issues impact engineering more? I can think of things like maybe not as many women around even in non engineering roles compared to say law & medicine and that may be worse in some sectors (construction?) than others - but it's at most a hypothesis. Perhaps more engineering jobs are private sector V public sector or large companies where unions have more of a role etc. but again not convinced. Getting back to the article its points appear to be that no one specifically encouraged the female students to consider engineering and secondly that some of the female students didn’t want to be in co-ed classes on the topic. Thing is I don’t remember anyone ever really encouraging me to go into engineering, or for that matter any of my male compatriots. I do remember some sponsorships only available to the female students that were pushed to the girls in high school. Coming from the other direction, because my wife was good at math at college her teacher hounded her to consider engineering to the point of almost harassment. Most of the career counseling I had consisted on various ‘aptitude tests’ to work out what careers might suit you, and then the direct counseling revolved around going on college and university not careers as such. Likewise I don’t remember that many engineers coming up in popular culture etc. though I suspect most that did, except perhaps for miss Schilling during BoB memorial shows, were male. I may be missing a whole bunch of subconscious indoctrination, and don’t want to ignore it but having trouble correlating the article with what I saw during my education. Hopefully SLTA this hasn’t put me back on the other side, I’m genuinely interested to know if there is some kind of discrimination that is keeping women out of engineering. However, so far most articles I’ve seen don’t strike me as having the magic bullet. Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you) What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"? ### RE: Women in Engineering. KENAT, I think you missed the point but, on a re-read, I see I was not very clear, so my mistake. The point is not about the specific conversations had (or not had) by male (or female) employees. The point is that engineering has a perception of having a male dominated culture that surrounds it (and most of us can recall at least a few work environments/co-workers that fit that perception). This culture can be discouraging, intimidating or discomforting to perspective female engineers. Whether it’s universally valid or not is not really the issue - it’s the perception that deters some women from even considering engineering (and the firsthand experience which can cause some to leave the field). #### Quote (KENAT) Other formerly male dominated professions now have a much higher ratio of female employees - so fundamentally why should these types of issues impact engineering more? This is an important question. I feel the difference is that professions such as medicine and law had more institutional impediments than cultural ones. There’s nothing culturally “masculine”, or “feminine” for that matter, about medicine or law. There is a “masculinity” that surrounds engineering. So, as the more overt forms of institutional deterrents (old-boys club) lessen, the opportunities for females in medicine and law improve. However, for engineering, the cultural impediments remain. We are making good strides to reduce these cultural impediments, though. Even seemingly silly things like using a female in an engineering ad or quotas for female engineers, help to erase the notion that “engineering is a male profession” by allowing young women to “see themselves” as engineers. It takes time to correct such deep-seated cultural issues but I feel it is improving. #### Quote (KENAT) I may be missing a whole bunch of subconscious indoctrination, and don’t want to ignore it but having trouble correlating the article with what I saw during my education. If you haven’t done so, I highly recommend watching the first 3 minutes of the video I linked and try to follow along with the test yourself. Like the audience, I was much slower and made many more errors during the final test (career/female = left, family/male = right). Now, this experiment highlights a much more general view of the perception of gender in society but it demonstrates that these things work at a subconscious level, even when you may be acutely aware of the problems at a conscious level. Extending this to other studies, such as Crowley et al 2001 (and there’s countless other studies – such as this one of grade 6 students’ experiences with and interest in science), you should begin to appreciate how influential cultural conditioning can be, even when we aren’t aware of it. I feel it’s important to keep this in mind while discussing these topics. ### RE: Women in Engineering. Its surprising how we have set out to solve issues on race when we can't even treat our women equally. It does not matter if the job "appears " more masculine or feminine. What matters is how effectively you can use the professionals working for you ! Both genders have their strengths and make up for where the other one lacks. Its as simple as that. ### RE: Women in Engineering. moltenmetal, Nope, I am not GOD, far from Him. Just been very lucky. No more no less than that. ### RE: Women in Engineering. "Its surprising how we have set out to solve issues on race when we can't even treat our women equally." ACtually, I don't think it's surprising at all. While our frontal cortexes have evolved, our hind brains have not. At our primal cores, we're pretty much the same creatures that came into being 300 millenia ago in Africa. TTFN FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies [IMG http://tinyurl.com/7ofakss] Need help writing a question or understanding a reply? forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Of course I can. I can do anything. I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! There is a homework forum hosted by engineering.com: http://www.engineering.com/AskForum/aff/32.aspx ### RE: Women in Engineering. Scenario: You own a small business, it pays your mortgage, puts food on the table, puts your kids through school. You need to hire an engineer. After hiring, you will spend 100K on training, benefits and pay before your new hire is billable. 2 candidates are more or less equal during the interview process. Both are in their mid twenties, just got married (volunteered info during the interview), one is a man one is a woman. Honestly answers - who do you hire? ### RE: Women in Engineering. Your implied answer: You discriminate against the woman (illegally, I might add) because you think she might have a kid and might take extended parental leave. You hire the man. Then 6 months later he leaves for another job that's offering a better salary. (or leaves for ANY reason) -or- The man takes 1 year parental leave. -or- The woman sues for discrimination and wins. -or- The woman was not planning on having kids. Your assumption that women (age 18-35??) have a statistically higher chance to take extended parental leave needs to be statistically higher than ANY of the above happening. Otherwise you're worse off. It's stupid AND it's discrimination. ### RE: Women in Engineering. "Stupid AND it's discrimination"? The candidates are equal, except for gender. You choose one, how is that stupid and discrimination, whichever you choose? I think affirmative action has gotten in the way of common sense and freedom of choice. ### RE: Women in Engineering. hokie66, the entire scenario is implying that you wouldn't hire the women because she might have a kid (hence the stuff about being recently married, hence the stuff about investing all that time and money into training, hence the context about parental leave earlier in the thread) not based off some other, work-related, quality. So then that is, by definition, discrimination. The stupid part comes from the fact you have no idea what the statistical chance of the man or woman taking extended time-off or leaving is. So making the decision to hire the man because the women might have a kid and might take extended parental leave is baseless because you have no idea if that chance is greater than the male candidate taking extended leave/leaving. Listen, losing employees is never easy, especially for small firms. I have never said otherwise. However, that doesn't justify baseless discrimination. ### RE: Women in Engineering. "You choose one, how is that stupid and discrimination, whichever you choose?" It's pretty simple; if you are unwilling to accept the outcome of a coin flip, you are biased. TTFN FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies [IMG http://tinyurl.com/7ofakss] Need help writing a question or understanding a reply? forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Of course I can. I can do anything. I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! There is a homework forum hosted by engineering.com: http://www.engineering.com/AskForum/aff/32.aspx ### RE: Women in Engineering. Hell, if you want to look at statistics, you might be more inclined -to- choose a woman, if you were truly "following statistics" and being unbiased: Men negotiate harder and get more pay/raises https://hbr.org/2014/06/why-women-dont-negotiate-t... http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/artic... http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2013/12/11/10-findi... ( #7) Women are increasingly less likely to 'job hop' while men are increasingly more likely to. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/10/job-tenur... http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/236702 <-- echoes the sentiment that women are more likely to stay at a company but seems more of an op-ed So again, when people talk about statistics, to me it seems they just want something that will substantiate their prejudice. "Lies, damned lies, and statistics," as the famous Mark Twain quote goes. I am not convinced of any reason to say gender would put a person above/below the 'average' in an engineering related field or even a wider consideration for other shop/office/field work. _________________________________________ NX8.0, Solidworks 2014, AutoCAD, Enovia V5 ### RE: Women in Engineering. JNieman: 1) Men negotiate harder and get more pay raises: in normative terms, this is correct, and this fact explains a significant fraction of the pay inequality between men and women at the professional level. The squeaky wheel gets the grease- so it has always been. And when the job itself entails some negotiation with clients etc., the tendency to negotiate rather than to accept and accommodate can actually be worth money to the firm. In a job where the ability to work on a team is the predominant need, that same male normative tendency can be a detriment that can cost the firm money in lost productivity. I hope you're not arguing that women should be hired because they're cheaper?! They absolutely shouldn't be- and firms have to find ways to work against the tendency to let that kind of compensation inequality slip in over time. 2) Men are indeed more likely to job-hop than women are- to a statistically significant extent. Similarly, women are, to a high level of statistical certainty, significantly more likely to take time off for parental leave, and in a labour market where that's 1 year per child, that's not an insubstantial consideration. But a job hop is more disruptive to a business than a mat leave by far. So, on balance, where does that leave a business. In our business we find that variation in abilities amongst candidates far outweighs anything such as the above which can be correlated with gender, as a means of selection for engineers. This bears out in our observations of on the job performance post hire. But this assumes you have an opportunity to observe their performance on the job to permit those conclusions to be drawn accurately before hiring. Otherwise, do the best that you can with interviews and it's still a crap shoot- and LOTS of factors not even remotely related to actual job performance can get in the way and bias the result of the selection. ### RE: Women in Engineering. I apologize to anyone that thinks I implied value to hiring women because of wage discrepancy. That was entirely sarcastic of me and I forgot how easy it is to misread intentions like that. I'll take the weasel route and blame the early morning post-Independence celebrations ;) " #### Quote (pewsocialtrends.org) Among parents, women are much more likely than men to experience family-related career interruptions. Percent saying they have ... in order to care for a child or family member: Reduced work hours: Mothers: 42% Fathers: 28% Taken a significant amount of time: Mothers: 39% Fathers: 24% Quit job: Mothers: 29% Fathers: 10% Turned Down Promotion: Mothers: 13% Fathers: 10% At best, it seems a wash, compared to men being so much more likely to job hop. Plus, increasingly fewer people are procreating in my country. Note, this doesn't mean we're having fewer children (didn't check), just that more are having none. #### Quote (US Census Bureau) "Nearly half of women between the ages of 15 and 44 did not have kids in 2014, up from 46.5% in 2012 to 47.6% in 2014, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The figure is the highest percentage since the Census Bureau started measuring it in 1976." So once again... I really don't see any reason why women should be seen as baby factories, or that they should at all be "considered" for potential birthing issues. It seems the potential negatives FAR outweigh any positive gain in "considering" their parental possibles. _________________________________________ NX8.0, Solidworks 2014, AutoCAD, Enovia V5 ### RE: Women in Engineering. It is reacted to as if that is not a worthy endeavor and that it is wrong to think reproducing is a major role that females play. That was a very interesting term that was brought up earlier in this thread "baby factories". Way to degrade the self-worth of women that want to prioritize having babies. Its pretty arrogant to imply that being dedicated to your profession of engineering is a higher aspiration than being a so called "baby factory". Its not bleak for female engineers: Women DO go into engineering. Women DO work in it every day. Women ARE encouraged to do it. Women ARE becoming more prevalent in it. Women are not the only ones who have gender roles: Why is the ratio so male-biased? Because males love engineering. Males seek out engineering at a high rate and males are also discouraged from doing a lot of other things. Go back and try to recall the last time somebody told you that you should be a nurse or an elementary school teacher. Engineering is the holy grail of what many boys want to become, and it aligns with their interests very well. Patterns of interest: Males and females have biological differences. You know how females tend to enjoy the company of males, and males tend to enjoy the company of females? How long is it before that too is considered an oppressive societal construct? That is NOT the only thing that differs when it comes to what brings them joy. "Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin ### RE: Women in Engineering. The problem is?: Lets say the male:female ratio never changes, no matter what we do. Lets say females always pursue engineering at a lower rate than males do. The females that want to go into engineering do, they are treated respectfully at work, and their employment rates are the same as males in the field. What is wrong with that? Why is that unacceptable? If that were the reality, would there be a group of people that never admit it or even realize it? "Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin ### RE: Women in Engineering. To clarify: The term "baby factory" was meant to be crude and offensive. It was used to address those who would forbid someone a career opportunity because of their potential to bear children. Such people /are/ arrogant and degrading to the worth of women. I do not believe such things - I address those who do with my refutations. However, if you choose to believe that engineering fields are not bleak for women, your head is planted firmly in... the sand. Some fields are better than others but there is still a very significant culture of bias. _________________________________________ NX8.0, Solidworks 2014, AutoCAD, Enovia V5 ### RE: Women in Engineering. Panther140, have you read the results of the study I posted way above? Lots of women want to be engineers and are shut out of it by the culture, among other things. A 50:50 ratio is not the goal; allowing all women who want to without dealing with crappy attitudes, less pay, etc, is. Surely more than 13% of women are interested in engineering, and honestly, it's attitudes like yours that make us SO. BLASTED. TIRED. Please remember: we're not all guys! ### RE: Women in Engineering. SLTA, I just skimmed the first few pages (including executive summary) of the report you linked and it is indeed the same one you posted previously when this topic came up. Still strikes me that most of the reasons given for leaving/not joining engineering field apply to men as well for instance: • Too much travel • Too long hours • Limited promotion potential • Low pay (compared to comparable careers) • Not enough training opportunities So where's the disconnect where you see large scale outright discrimination and I don't? There were certainly some anecdotes of overt sexism given (as well as the opposite) but I didn't see a significant statistical metric that addressed this - please direct me to it if applicable. Certainly some of the points about work-life balance appeared to imply that women still take a larger role in child care etc. and so needed more flexibility. Is this truly unique to engineering though as compared to comparable fields? I'm not trying to be a jerk here genuinely trying to understand the discrepancy between our perceptions. Perhaps it boils down to needing to walk a mile in your steel toed work boots - but unless you're a 10.5 (mens) wide that aint gonna work out. Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you) What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"? ### RE: Women in Engineering. I would imagine that SLTA is also referring to the 8 years, or even earlier, before getting an engineering degree. It's at this phase that many women turn away from engineering/science, because of various pressures, attitudes, etc. TTFN FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies [IMG http://tinyurl.com/7ofakss] Need help writing a question or understanding a reply? forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Of course I can. I can do anything. I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! There is a homework forum hosted by engineering.com: http://www.engineering.com/AskForum/aff/32.aspx ### RE: Women in Engineering. Kenat, Your most recent post caused me to go back and take another look at that document which SLTA linked to. On one of the first few pages is something which I found interesting: Why did the women not enter an engineering career? The top five reasons women reported for deciding not to enter engineering were: 1. They were not interested in engineering, 2. didn’t like the engineering culture, 3. had always planned to go into another field, 4. did not find the career flexible enough, 5. or wanted to start their own business. These reasons did not differ significantly across different age groups or years of graduation. Item 2 is disappointing to see. I wonder how much of that is due to the attitude of male engineer colleagues, and how much is due to the attitude from male-dominated skilled trades? I've rarely seen male engineers treat female colleagues as anything other than equals, but I can see why a female would feel uncomfortable among a large group of tradesmen where a pack mentality and schoolyard humour dominates. I have to deal with them too, but at least I don't have sexist bullying to deal with on top of all their other crap. Items 1 and 3 intrigue me. When I did my degree a few years ago engineering in the UK was in a death spiral. It was relatively easy to get on an engineering course, but they had massive dropout rates. Every one of us who finished did so because we worked bloody hard: every boy, every girl - no exceptions. I'm surprised that a large (according to the study) number of females choose to study a demanding and difficult subject without any intention of ever entering the profession. Why is that? Is it so surprising that there's a relatively small number of practicing female engineers when many who studied the subject never intended to enter the profession even at the outset? Contrast that with the majority of male engineers I have worked with: most of us studied engineering because we never really wanted to do anything else, and some of us are lucky enough to make a decent living at doing something we'd probably do for enjoyment. Do females just look at it differently? ### RE: Women in Engineering. Scotty, while the term 'engineering culture' may include 'sexism' it wasn't clear to me that was the only thing, or even the main thing it covered. Like I said though, I didn't read the article end to end so may have missed something. By the time I was at uni in late 90's quite a few folks seemed to fall into 1 & 2 on my aero course at least. A bunch of us had a real passion for aero/astro nautics but a lot of folks didn't. The drop out rate amongst the ladies in the 1st year was higher than with the guys for whatever reason. Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you) What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"? ### RE: Women in Engineering. I was a few years ahead of you on Electrical & Electronic. We lost half our number by the end of year one, then a third of the survivors didn't see the end of year two. By the end of the course we had about a third of the initial intake left. All bar one of the girls who started our course stayed the duration, so exactly the opposite of what you saw. The 'sexist' thing wasn't particularly aimed at the report, just intended as an example of where the 'engineering culture' in my industry (power, oil & gas) is especially unappealing to a female engineer in a way which male engineers don't have to tolerate. I'm not completely sure what the definition of 'engineering culture' actually is to be honest. ### RE: Women in Engineering. KENAT, you read one part of one question. A more accurate overview would be P. 6 and Chapter 10 on P. 57. The gist of it is that the culture in the workplace, and the attitudes of coworkers/clients/bosses, is one of the main reasons women leave engineering. Take half an hour and read the whole report. I've said so many times before that I can no longer even count the number of times I've had to deal with some sort of absurd crap simply because I'm a woman... It started back in middle school for me, but really showed up in high school physics class. The teacher was blatantly sexist (the Dean of Students even told him so) and he just didn't get it, at all. Until that blindness disappears, things won't change. And maybe this isn't what's happening in this thread, but I feel a bit like I'm having to justify and defend my right to be offended and/or frustrated by the experiences I've had. Not from you, KENAT, but from some others on this thread. So, I think I'll step on back away and go for a walk instead. Please remember: we're not all guys! ### RE: Women in Engineering. SLTA - I did get further than page 6 and it still didn't cry overt sexism. "One-in-three women left because they did not like the workplace climate, their boss or the culture." "Women engineers who were treated in a condescending, patronizing manner, and were belittled and undermined by their supervisors and co-workers were most likely to want to leave their organizations." I suspect you could eliminate the gender specifics of the above sentences and they'd still run true. Certainly here when our management condescend and patronize us we get a bit tweaked. Our climate of chasing end of quarter to please wall street etc. gets old, as does chasing various fads and management buzz words.

Hence my previous summation of women engineers on average being less willing to take <insert euphemism for unpleasant job/work aspects> than their male counterparts.

Maybe women see more of the nonsense, but that report doesn't demonstrate that from what I can see. Most of the suggestions in chapter 10 seem fairly gender neutral too.

Sorry, probably not making you feel any better about your place amongst us misogynists. Like I said, without having been in your situation maybe it's difficult to know how it feels.

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### RE: Women in Engineering.

"the report at least partially addresses that as well."

Not really, the report is titled "WHY WOMEN LEAVE ENGINEERING," so this is only addressing why those that have engineering degrees aren't working as engineers.

""One-in-three women left because they did not like the workplace climate, their boss or the culture."

"Women engineers who were treated in a condescending, patronizing manner, and were belittled and undermined by their supervisors and co-workers were most likely to want to leave their organizations.""

There is a difference. If I have a sucky boss, I'll give the bird and leave, but I'll be going to another engineering job, because I know not all bosses are sucky that way. I would guess that the women questioned in the survey did not ever find a sufficiently non-sucky boss or co-workers to keep at it. Additionally, we know that men get sort of similar treatment, but it's not about the gender, per se, it's more likely to be a hazing ritual of sorts, or they simply hate that guy's guts for whatever reason. BUT, since they're most likely to be men, there is not a possibility of gender bias, since they're the same gender.

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### RE: Women in Engineering.

It's usually a different type of dirt. Coupled with the fact that men are usually full of themselves.

Even if it's the same dirt doesn't mean that the intent is the same.

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### RE: Women in Engineering.

The article cited by the original post confirms a study that was conducted in the UK in the 1980's, as then reported by the magazine "New Scientist". The UK government wanted to determine why there weren't more women in science + engineering colleges. They found that the only women who passed the high school tests used for admission to technical colleges were girls who attended girls-only high schools. When they modified some regular high schools to have same-sex math and science classes, they found that the girl performance greatly improved and was generally better than the boys performance, as long as they separated the 2 sexes for these courses. Apparently mixing the sexes affects the concentration of developing girls such that it detracts from their math and science performance.

"Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!"

### RE: Women in Engineering.

KENAT: my observation matches ScottyUK's. In my batch, studying in the late '80s, female program completion rate was higher than male completion rate. Women who started the program tended to finish it. Most of the "reflux" (people failing a term) were men, as were most of the drop-outs or flunk-outs. Not exclusively, but predominately. I always attributed it to the perceived barrier to entry- the women who chose to enter the program did so against these perceived barriers and were damned if they weren't going to finish what they'd chosen to start.

My observation similarly matches ScottyUK's in relation to treatment of female engineers on the job. I've never been in a workplace where the male engineers, whether customers or colleagues, treated the female engineers with disrespect arising from their gender. There were some men, particularly older ones, who said inappropriate things or were patronizing, and they were generally put in their place- not only by the women. I'm not saying there weren't incidents that I didn't observe and am not denying the experiences of someone like SLTA who seems to live with this bullsh*t on a daily basis.

I have however, like ScottyUK, seen engineers of both sexes treated miserably by tradespeople, who are still predominately men. There are unpleasant tendencies which exhibit themselves any time the sexes are segregated, in both sexes- as my wife can attest, having worked in a female-dominated profession. Fortunately there have been enough women around in engineering during my entire career that these tendencies have been suppressed. It doesn't take a 50% mix to make them go away.

I've seen the studies which say that sex segregation in science and math education actually works- for women. I'd be open to it- as long as there is no sex segregation in other subjects. I've lived through that, going to an all boys Catholic high school, and can tell you that the unpleasant tendencies resulting from total sex segregation went well beyond being merely unpleasant.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

4
"Apparently mixing the sexes affects the concentration of developing girls such that it detracts from their math and science performance."

I hope that's unmarked sarcasm, because that's a mouthful of gender bias right there. It has been shown in studies that male or female TEACHERs in a mixed gender class will treat the males preferentially. Given that this is a public forum that is often plagiarized, it would be bad form if this got posted as confirmation of someone else's bias.

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### RE: Women in Engineering.

SLTA, I think a lot of people are naive to how blatantly sexist or racist some people are. I've dealt with a lot of garbage at times because I was female, but I have also seen the same things against people from other countries, where someone would flat out tell me that they wouldn't work with a person because they were of a certain ethnicity. With that said, the VAST majority of people that I have worked with weren't like that, and a few difficult people were not enough to chase me away from something that I love doing.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

I just saw this youtube video from an engineer whose channel is "Smart Every Day" and it was a pretty strong metaphor for mental tunnel vision and ingrained bias, I believe.

In it, the host speaks of being given a modified bicycle with the handlebars geared so that the steering is directly opposite tradition. He speaks of how he was amazed how much of his actions and reactions were geared entirely by ingrained behavior through repetition over time, and how incredibly difficult it was to modify that behavior.

I thought it was interesting and a bit poignant as I look back on instances of mistakes in my past where this type of bias led me to shameful behavior without even realizing I was doing it at the time.

_________________________________________
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### RE: Women in Engineering.

Well obviously if you make a class specifically for females, tailor all of the coursework to learning styles more prevalent in females, and then select which females go to this female-specific course you are going to get better results for them.

Females get the majority of college degrees now and BOYS are the ones having trouble in schools from little on.

Why are we talking about tailoring school to cater to girls more, when boys are the ones struggling more than they are?

"Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin

### RE: Women in Engineering.

We're talking about STEM specifically, not school in general here. And despite the more women graduating from college, men are still getting the higher salaries, aren't they?

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### RE: Women in Engineering.

To compare to a running race: Because when you're in the lead, or winning, as we are as men, you don't complain about someone trying to close the gap by bringing the second, third, fourth runners ahead in the game. We're not in competition. We're on the same team.

_________________________________________
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### RE: Women in Engineering.

STEM in general is oversupplied, as is engineering in particular, so there's no "STEM crisis" to concern ourselves with, anywhere other than in the heads of certain people who benefit from the propagation of that myth:

http://spectrum.ieee.org/at-work/education/the-ste...

We need girls to not close off their options too soon, which is an all-too-common event even now. That's a fundamental justice issue- we don't want true human potential wasted, irrespective of which sex. The challenge that I see going forward is that our ability to educate has outstripped the market demand for employment in the associated field. Some human potential is going to be "wasted" as a result, because people have to eat- not everybody gets to pursue their highest aspirations in the form of a career. I know lots of fine artists, musicians, historians, linguistic scholars etc. who are doing day jobs to keep body and soul together- so it has always been- it is just a shame to see so many potential engineers and scientists amongst them now.

Education should try harder to engender the wonder which is common in all kids, rather than snuffing it out entirely which seems to be the much more common result. Regrettably, elementary education as currently practice can be quite effective at snuffing out wonder in both boys and girls.

As to making working conditions better for female engineers- I recommend the same thing that will improve the working conditions for male engineers: stop cranking out so many of them that the supply outstrips the market demand by a factor of more than 3 (which is the current situation here in Canada). The rest of it is of secondary importance, though still worthy of effort- particularly on the part of employers- to find and reduce the systematic biases where they persist. But a strict numeric equality amongst the sexes in this profession isn't something I think we need to aspire to.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

STEM in general is oversupplied, as is engineering in particular... in some localities, and in some disciplines. It's a generalisation which doesn't apply universally. In the UK we struggle to recruit good power engineers because there simply aren't all that many of them around, and the companies who do have them try hard to hang on to them. The international power engineering job market doesn't seem much different based on the number of approaches I'm getting via LinkedIn and direct via email. Rotating plant engineers seem to be in a similar position. Long may it continue.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

I think Moltenmetal's point is more about over supply of students/grads.

Certainly once you get up to needing certain amount of experience in certain specialize fields etc. then there is often a shortage not over supply. Arguably much of this shortage is Industries own fault but that's another topic - not closely related to the low proportion of women in engineering.

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### RE: Women in Engineering.

ScottyUK, there will always be a shortage of the fully trained people that weren't hired as fresh grads ten plus years ago. That doesn't help the current crop of fresh grads a mote.

Similarly, there SHOULD be a shortage of people in such "short supply", who are willing to work for an "average" engineering salary- or willing to work in a remote location without a steep salary premium etc.

If that's the case for you, then enjoy it- and make SURE for all our collective benefit, you profit thoroughly from it!

The salary survey data here puts the lie to the notion that there's any persistent shortage that is driving up the price of labour, i.e. the only kind of shortage that should trouble a business. That survey data shows engineering salary growth which is not out-stripping either economic growth or the cost of living. And since the survey data is sorted by years of experience, we have sufficient data to say that we're not seeing a sudden spike in the salaries of "experienced" engineers in general here. So your situation is the exception that proves the rule.

KENAT is right: my point was in relation to the hiring and retention of female engineers. Make a REAL labour shortage and they will both come, and stay. In an oversupplied marketplace in general terms, which is what we certainly have here and now, I'd be troubled if more women were staying than men- perhaps in a real practical sense, the women have more brains than the men do in that regard.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

Ok, I misread your opening sentence as meaning that STEM is oversupplied, not that there are too many raw graduates in STEM subjects for the opportunities available. FWIW, in the UK the employment market is considerably better for a 2015 grad than it was for a late 80's / early 90's grad, and that's reflected in both starting salaries and the number of opportunities.

I'll shut up now, I didn't intend to drag this off into the weeds.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

Women are discriminated against by men in the workplace. I've lived long enough now to experience discrimination from men old enough to be my father and men young enough to be my son.

Dr. George Simon, a psychologist, has changed my mind forever about human behavior. Forever.

Ultimately, employers do not hire reproductive systems but employees they believe capable of doing the job and providing enough ROI to pay the employee as well as themselves.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC

### RE: Women in Engineering.

Local TV stations are now showing ads featuring young girls (physically attractive from a male viewpoint) essentially saying, "It's O.K. to be a girl, and an Engineer".

### RE: Women in Engineering.

@BUGGAR

Reminds me of a recent/current social media phenom with a hashtag " #ILookLikeAnEngineer " with female engineers posting photos of themselves.

Ref: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/06/technology/hasht...

_________________________________________
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### RE: Women in Engineering.

The back story to the #ILookLikeAnEngineer is vaguely interesting.

Essentially a company did some bill boards featuring some of their employees. One of them was a young female engineer who would probably be considered attractive by Western societal norms (that's my PC attempt at saying she was a hottie). This poster got a lot of feedback about must be a model, not realistic...

I fell into the same trap and had to admonish myself accordingly.

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### RE: Women in Engineering.

So, good news, bad news sort of thing. Bad news that there are snarks that complete idiots with notions of correlations between smarts and looks. Good news is that there are people like Isis Anchalee, https://twitter.com/isisAnchalee who got some well deserved kudos on NPR this morning and demonstrates that smarts, looks, and fearlessness do go together.

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### RE: Women in Engineering.

Oh, sure; I still keep a pair of horn-rimmed glasses encrusted with dandruff and a holey t-shirt for those occasions

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### RE: Women in Engineering.

I just wear mine to work.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

Germane to my story so I'll tell you that I'm a woman. When I told my mom I was going to be an engineer she was totally shocked. She said, "but you can't - you are pretty and you shower and you know how to dress". Wow talk about offensive to us all. Of course she wasn't trying to be offensive she was just shocked and that was the first thing that popped into her head. That was more than 20 years ago but I suspect it's still a prevalent idea in a lot of people's minds.

And I agree it's a stereotype for both men and women that we should be ugly, fail to shower and wear plaid, stripes and polka dots all in one outfit.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

tstructural, no it's not just your mom 20 years ago.

My wife worked in the unemployment office in our small town until recently, there is a large military R&D base in town so a lot of engineering hiring & firing etc.

Anyway, the consensus of her and her colleagues was about the same as your mum.

In fact her friends and colleagues often make comments about me (male) not being 'like other engineers' and I'm far from being Ashton Kutcher.

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### RE: Women in Engineering.

Running slightly counter to the disadvantaged women theme of this thread, female students are displacing male students in higher education generally. The lack of female engineers is even more pronounced if there is any substance to this report.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews...

### RE: Women in Engineering.

tstructural: my wife's mother said something similar when she found out her daughter was going to marry someone from Compton.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

This principle should be applied professionally. As to the conclusions of the lady, MS Muriel Kolker, implying the 'issue' is 'cultural' seems to contradict her own experiment. The truth is that women can not compete with men in Engineering or the "hard sciences" and I would assert that the biggest factor is biological differences, between the sexes.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

#### Quote (Roach44)

The truth is that women can not compete with men in Engineering or the "hard sciences" and I would assert that the biggest factor is biological differences, between the sexes.

And in which century are YOU living?

John R. Baker, P.E.
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

### RE: Women in Engineering.

That's just pitiful; cultural bias is EVERYWHERE. Take any two-year to a Walmart; they'll know that one particular toy aisle dominated by pink is for girls. Where's the biological there? Or watch Barney; when they did their "what you can grow up to be" episode, the girls were teachers and nurses, but the boys were firemen, chefs, and doctors. In a show that actively promotes fairness and equality, they wind up with that?

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### RE: Women in Engineering.

@Roach44,

This appears to be your only post. Is your only contribution to this forum just to troll us with an imbecilic incitement of blatant sexism?

What is your cultural background, I wonder?

### RE: Women in Engineering.

"The truth is that women can not compete with men in Engineering or the "hard sciences" at best a gross generalization and quite <edit> most likely just nonsense.

There are as I recall some studies that do suggest a biological element to some gender preferences, but there is also the environmental element and it's pretty hard to differentiate the two without getting unethical in your experimentation.

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### RE: Women in Engineering.

I call troll. Not worth it, friends.

Please remember: we're not all guys!

### RE: Women in Engineering.

all generalisations are false, including that one.

another day in paradise, or is paradise one day closer ?

### RE: Women in Engineering.

If all generalizations are false, isn't the premise false?

### RE: Women in Engineering.

Now Pamela, if you are going to start a political argument, maybe this is not the right thread. The Pub, maybe?

### RE: Women in Engineering.

hokie66, there's an apolitical, very relevant point that I took away from lacajun's post. Clinton is attacked for being "mechanical" or "cold" or "aggressive" (and of course many other political things that we can ignore in this context). A male showing similar traits would be called "thoughtful" or "focused" or "determined".

It goes back to the way our culture views the two sexes. When a women displays characteristics that are normally associated positively with our culturally-constructed "typical male", they get spun to be associated negatively with our culturally-constructed "typical female". What's worse is that we've built up positions of power to require the "typical male" characteristics.

So either females fall in line with the "typical female" role and aren't perceived to have the characteristics required to obtain positions of power or they develop their own set of characteristics and are attacked for not being a "typical female". Damned if they are, Damned if they aren't.

This applies directly to engineering. The characteristic "getting your hands dirty" is seen as a required trait for engineering (and to be a "typical male"). However, if a female demonstrates that characteristic, she's considered "butch" or "unfeminine".

### RE: Women in Engineering.

2
So hard to separate the harsh treatment Hillary deserves from what she doesn't. Plenty of both to go around.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

I don't disagree but that doesn't impact the broader, more relevant point (i.e. the treatment of women seeking employment in typically male dominated fields) brought forward by lacajun's post.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

While I was growing up in the 60s and 70s, I sort of bought into the notion that while vestiges of sexism and racism remained, the majority of people were getting to the point of being gender and race neutral. Sadly, it seems that this is nowhere near the case, and the prejudices run VERY deep in some cases. A certain senator referred to the president as an "animal," and I can see no way that such a derogatory label would have ever been applied to a white man. Likewise, women in politics, engineering, and in general society are not compared as gender neutral beings, but are compared to society's perception of what a women is, or should be. This applies across the board, even in some thing that are not obviously related, like school start/stop times. We have school district that came up with a scheme, during the recession, to get the federal student attendance dollars, but starting the day, not 1, but 2 hours later than usual, for "staff development." Great for the students and teachers, but sucks for working families. I would contend that there is still a notion that there is a stay-at-home parent that can deal with this disruption in schedules with no financial consequences.

One thing, though, to be fair, I believe that Mit the Romney was also labeled as being mechanical early in his presidential campaign.

TTFN
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert!
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers

### RE: Women in Engineering.

I don't object to being called politically incorrect, which I am, but don't know why I should not be able to express strong negative opinions about a woman without being labelled as a misogynist.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

Unfortunately every time experiments are conducted where two groups of what are seen as average individuals are shown resumes of people applying for a technical or highly skilled job and are asked to rate them, the group where no names or photos are included, are much more likely to give ratings which are distributed in a fairly random pattern. However the group where names and/or photos were included, where it would be easy to recognize race and gender, the rating are almost always skewed toward high ratings for white males and lower ratings for females and minorities. In fact, when IDENTICAL resumes are shown but where some are obvious white males and the rest are females or minorities, again the predominance of high ratings go to the white males,

Now this does NOT necessarily prove that most people are racists or misogynists, just that as a society we suffer from institutional prejudices whether we'd like to admit it or not. For most people, it's an unconscious behavior and only something like awareness training can bring some relief to this situation. The good news is that over time, these prejudices will be overcome and diluted. The bad news is that it's not coming fast enough and every now and then society backslides, which is what I fear has been happening during the current political season. It's like we've ripped a scab off of an old sore that if it had been left alone for another generation or two, would have pretty much gone away.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

### RE: Women in Engineering.

"It's like we've ripped a scab off of an old sore that if it had been left alone for another generation or two, would have pretty much gone away. "

The current climate has exacerbated and intensified the biases and prejudices. What used to be a polite disagreements about policies and philosophies have turned into pseudo-religious, internecine, conflict. It's pretty clear, now, that certain things run VERY deep, where even generations of living together has yielded little in the way of mending things like class conflict, "religious" differences, etc.

TTFN
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert!
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers

### RE: Women in Engineering.

I agree. The slogan to "Make America Great Again" is code for exactly what you're talking about. It's like the chain-emails I get a couple times a year showing pictures of 'America' from the 50's and early 60's usually with some sort of nostalgic theme or sometimes even musical accompaniment, suggesting how great things were back then with pictures of school dances, people picnicking, going to drive-in shows or simply images of families sitting around the dining room table or watching an early TV show or listening to the radio. Of course, the people in these pictures are always white and most of the kids are blond, dad is smoking a pipe while reading the newspaper and mom is wearing an apron and washing the dishes. For a large number of Americans, this was a total fantasy and for them, going back would be to once again disappear into the shadows of society.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

### RE: Women in Engineering.

My point exactly!!!! And there are some who would like them to go back to "their place".

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

### RE: Women in Engineering.

Maybe we are seeing an issue that is not there. After all we all want to be with people "like ourselves". The issue is we change our perception of "like ourselves" over time, hours, days, weeks.

I have found that people "like me" have changed at times from Engineers, to males, to political like me types, to people I know, to people who don't smell.

So is it an issue, or not? What exactly is "like me"?

### RE: Women in Engineering.

I would love to respond to that, but if I did, at least in the manner and detail that I would like to, the last few posts would get 'Red Flagged' (I'm surprised that they haven't already). Perhaps we should take this thread to the 'Pub'

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

### RE: Women in Engineering.

My point in posting the article about Clinton was not to introduce politics but to demonstrate that women everywhere have to work much harder than men to achieve their dreams.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC

### RE: Women in Engineering.

And stereotypes themselves are not invariable. My expectation of Asians differs from your example of a stereotype.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

It's even more challenging than some might think. People forget that stereotypes serve a need- they aren't just unfounded historical biases that we can shed by merely being aware of them. They're a coping mechanism which help people deal with living in a society which is so heterogeneous that it overwhelms them. Don't get me wrong- I think that understanding how bias works is critically important. Education is important- people need to understand how this works, and what harms can result from it. Socialization is important- it's easy to fear what you don't know or have no experience with, and experience with a diversity of others from a young age (i.e. in PUBLIC schools) is also critically important. But frankly I don't see how you can ever eliminate the need for people to "typify" others based on normative tendencies of groups, unless you expect us all to start living in villages with no more than about 100 inhabitants- and even then you'll still have people typified based on family association etc.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

Stereotypes also help us fill in the gaps about a person that we just met. Good or bad.

Like trust, you must show you are different from the stereotype. The way you appear, dress, etc. also has an influence on what people think.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

2
Stereotypes can be useful in helping to gage someone else's life experience.
• Nearly every American black man has been pulled over for "DWB".
• Nearly every American Hispanic has had his/her citizenship or immigration status questioned.
• Nearly every woman has been talked down to or mistreated simply for being a woman.
I'm a white male. I barely blink when I drive by a cop. No one questions my citizenship (even though I'm one of those "anchor babies" and a beneficiary of the 14th Amendment). Employers don't worry about my child-bearing status.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

If you want to see stereotypes in action, just walk into any car showroom, or some furniture stores. The salesperson will automatically assume you don't know anything.
Even after you ask a technical question, you will still get some fluff answer.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

Nearly everyone in West Virginia has been accused of meeting their spouse at a family reunion.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

Nearly every man has had assumptions made about them too that are inaccurate. Some men even notice when this happens!

### RE: Women in Engineering.

I fail to see the relevance of evolution in this discussion.

Can anyone give me one example of anything man made or natural that does not have an intelligent design?

And where does intelligence fit in with evolution?

ok it is off topic but I did not start it.

Design for RELIABILITY, manufacturability, and maintainability

### RE: Women in Engineering.

If you didn't start it, who did? I thought I had followed the thread, but evolution is not the subject.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

Maybe the thread evolved?

One fact that many people can't get over is that we evolved or were designed to survive. And that means different things for people in different geographic locations, and it means men and women are a little different.

That has nothing to do with having a equal chance (for what humans can do)to achieve one's goals.

But we must also understand that not everyone who wants to be an engineer, can become a good engineer. Some have to become managers.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

3
Intelligent Design is just scientific slothfulness. Unseen cause here, misunderstood effect there, blah-blah-blah-MAGIC! ...Aaaand here we are.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

For me, it comes down to this:

Don't tell me I can't do something simply because of my gender. Why shouldn't I try first, and then realize on my own that I can or cannot?

Please remember: we're not all guys!

### RE: Women in Engineering.

But what if we don't tell you, we just simply encourage to become something, because we don't have enough women (or someone thinks we don't have enough).

I sort of have an issue with the term 'encourage', which might mean to encourage someone who might be better at something else.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

cranky, you're way overthinking this.

I cannot count the number of times I've gotten treated poorly, or ignored, or snarked at, or not believed, or patted on the head (isn't she cute, she thinks she's an engineer), because I'm a female and wanted to be/am an engineer. My mom is a nuclear physicist and would show up at conferences AS THE EXPERT and get told that the wives aren't allowed in the meetings. Studies clearly show that girls in elementary school love math and science, and are good at it, but by middle school, they're being told it's not cool/girly/makes them less attractive or other nonsense and the numbers start dropping rapidly. When there's so much discouragement out there, blasting at girls like a jet engine, it's SUPER important to balance that with proper encouragement.

The goal isn't to have women in STEM who can't do it, just to get the numbers up, just like the goal isn't to have men in STEM who can't do it. The goal is to not get in the way of the females who can, and to nurture that ability instead of smushing it.

Please remember: we're not all guys!

### RE: Women in Engineering.

"Studies clearly show that girls in elementary school love math and science, and are good at it, but by middle school, they're being told it's not cool/girly/makes them less attractive or other nonsense"

Happened during my schooling; Nora and Mary were awesomely smart at math in grade school and junior high. But, in high school, neither took anything that resembled either honors or AP; Nora still got a 4.0 at graduation and was valedictorian, but still... Of all the girls that started high school as high achievers, only one stayed the course, and she went on to get doctorate, etc.

TTFN
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert!
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers

### RE: Women in Engineering.

I am a girl, smart, good at math, and without any particular career agendas ... twenty years ago. I am good at what I do and structural engineering is better for what I've given. So, what? We had kids, and yes, it takes you away from work. Please, pay me less than the guys who never stopped working. And as a business owner, 2008 we hit hard times, and yes, pull back, eat macaroni, cut staff, try to survive. Lawyers ... ewww, nevermind. I do not think that what we identify as people matters to the job. Do your job. Do it well. Quit worrying about your sex, color, or what others find to be fair.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

My wife is a teacher and is talked to like a child here and there. I don't have any female colleagues, but I can only imagine it is at least as much of a hurdle. Further, in building construction I find contractors definitely have "types" of which they do not like to take direction from. Women in all professions deserve better than the falsehood of requiring to prove themselves to men before being treated on character and skill. I imagine this intimidation drives many women from persuing engineering. I strongly support the effort of encouragement in STEM programs.

"It is imperative Cunth doesn't get his hands on those codes."

### RE: Women in Engineering.

Maybe the comments on intimidation should be directed to the education area.

I don't see my daughter being turned off from high school math, and in fact I am in hopes that I remember enough calculus to still be able to check her math for her. But to be honest she is not in a public school, because I was so unhappy when I was in a public school decades ago. So maybe the school is the difference, or you get what you paid for.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

I was in AP physics at a prestigious private high school, and was treated like crap by the male teacher and other students (all of whom were male). My mom had a meeting with the Dean of Students and the teacher, who seriously claimed he never realized he treated me any differently. 5 years after high school, one of my fellow students looked me up and apologized for the way they all treated me. It's just crazy.

I love this thread, because it's helping people think about this topic, and having it simply in your awareness makes it less likely to happen. Cheers, y'all.

Please remember: we're not all guys!

### RE: Women in Engineering.

Thing is, when I was at school seems the opposite was true to some extent. There was a bunch of focus on encouraging female students into Engineering with special events, organizations & scholarships etc.

On the other hand I don't remember anyone ever really encouraging me to go into engineering - or for that matter any other field - until I actually went to university recruitment events and even then it was up to me to initiate the conversations and it was more about what school than what subject. I think there was maybe one general scholarship for folks going into Engineering but I remember the ones for women being advertized a lot more.

Whether this was because of the way the schools I went to operated, or a more general time & geography difference from many posters or some unique KENAT issues I don't know but certainly impacts the way I perceive things even though I try to keep in mind the old adage about walking a mile in your moccasins.

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

### RE: Women in Engineering.

Yesterday was National Women in Engineering Day here in the UK. I didn't hear much about any of the events or which companies/schools participated. Things are happening to try to get women interested but they don't seem to be pushing very hard to get noticed. They may just have to accept that there isn't hoards and hoards of women that want to be engineers.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

Only 40% of engineering graduates go into engineering. There isn't exactly a shortage of fresh grads or an abundance of entry level positions. I would be against recruiting anyone but I would be all for accommodating anyone that has interest in the field. What accommodating means, I don't know. The few women that I graduated with went into engineering at a lower rate than men even though they were just as competent, if that means anything.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

HH, have you ever asked them why?

Please remember: we're not all guys!

### RE: Women in Engineering.

SLTA,

One I knew was supporting herself through school with a very unusual gig that paid \$400/hr. I think she picked engineering as a major just because she was good at math in science. When she graduated, I don't think she had the interest or desire to make less by going into engineering. As far as I know ten years later, she still hasn't entered the conventional workforce. I don't know why the others didn't go into engineering.

I went to school in a pretty liberal area and don't think female engineers were treated much differently. I think though that if a guy struggles with a tool like a soldering iron, people think "he will pick it up quickly. He just needs time" and with a girl there is a fear that she has never picked up a tool before.

In the south, I have seen more that might ward off female engineers, which has amounted to just flat out not hiring some female engineers, open dislike towards the hassle and expense of pregnant employees, or only hiring those that can take a "joke". Places like this are probably becoming more of the exception than the rule but they still exist.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

SLTA- the stats here in Ontario is that about 92% of 4th year students of engineering in 2013 either definitely or probably would seek a career in engineering. Very few decided by 4th year that they will not seek a career in engineering. Those stats have been fairly consistent through the ~ 5 yrs that PEO has been doing that poll of 4th year students.

What changes their minds? Overwhelmingly it's the market- that goes for both men and women. Most have their minds made up for them right from graduation. If they fail to find that 1st job, most lose their profession for good.

Are women disproportionately deterred? Yes, they are. From the Canadian Census (2011 National Household Survey), around 22% of female engineering grads worked as engineers or engineering managers, which is lower than the average of all eng grads (~30%). ~40% of femal eng grads worked in professional occupations of any kind (including engineering/management), which is slightly higher than their male counterparts (~37%), but more women (~39%) worked in jobs not requiring a university degree much less a degree in engineering, i.e. jobs deemed to be underemployment- higher than men (~32%). These figures are all from the OSPE underemployment report which I've linked to several times now- it is a very thorough analysis of what engineering grads are actually doing, rather than the bullshit you constantly hear in the media about shortages.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

@SLTA-

I had a similar point in my earlier life where I recall a couple engineering students I'd known for a long time (went to the same junior & high schools) that were in the same pre-engineering program at the time, with the same plans to go to the same engineering school for our BS at least. But a couple friends and I were absolutely unacceptably rude and dismissive of these two girls who were absolutely our equals. I would be angered if I didn't do as well one of the women who liked to stoke the competitiveness between us. If one of my male friends performed better I'd just be disappointed in myself and say "Damn he's good. I could learn something from him."

That same aspiring engineer (the female) gave me a tongue lashing one day in front of a few friends and it was a much needed wake-up. I was still a 19 year old idiot cursed with extended deeply ingrained biases, but it did, for the first time, sort of waken me to an empathy that was too late to save what could have been a valuable friendship. Haven't seen hide nor hair of her since college days. She could be launching rockets or bringing power to impoverish nations these days for all I know.

It's sad that it took until I was 19 to even begin looking inward. I see it all too often. The inability to open your eyes to such a sexism. The inability to have some basic human empathy for those around you, or a large. It is very sad. All I can do is be a better example for my son than I had at his age, encourage all his friends the same, keep the dialogue non-exclusive, and hope for the best.

_______

Sorry for the tangent... SLTA's comment brought back a moment in my past I'll always regret. Figured it was relevant. It was at least in the engineering context.

Perhaps the lesson is that before you can identify or fix something - you have to realize whether or not you're seeing the problem fully, or at least a significant portion at all.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

Cheers, JNieman. I'm glad you heard her. (And have you tried googling her? Might be interesting!) Thanks for raising your son to be open. That really matters.

Please remember: we're not all guys!

### RE: Women in Engineering.

There are lots of women in STEM academia- particularly in "soft" fields like environmental engineering.

Use translation assistance for Engineers forum

Note the rules include No Student posting

### RE: Women in Engineering.

JNieman has the guts to admit it, so I should too. I also remember saying crude and insulting things, all in the name of childish jokes. Interestingly, my solution has also been to raise my son to be much more sensitive to others. I hope it works.

STF

### RE: Women in Engineering.

I think that children can often see through the hypocrisy of adults, so they learn pretty early on the concept of, "Do as I say, and not as I do." For example, we teach our children not to swear or say bad things about other people, but, almost all of us will get caught doing one or both before the kids even get to kindergarten. That's probably partly why we've made so little progress on a number of fronts, like sexism, racism, ageism, smoking, drinking, etc.

TTFN
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert!
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers

### RE: Women in Engineering.

Children see through the hypocrisy of adults, but they also rather quickly sit in judgment of adults. Their opinions evolve with the zeitgeist. The kids' cranky uncle's racist or homophobic comments are more likely to generate quiet sneers of derision than converts to his point of view.

Societal attitudes are evolving, and for the better. It's important though that we be realistic about the desired outcome and the pace of that change, and the methods used to effect that change.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

"The kids' cranky uncle's racist or homophobic comments are more likely to generate quiet sneers of derision than converts to his point of view."

I'm unconvinced about the "more likely," given that we made very SLOW progress in the areas of attitudes about race and sex, despite what we claim or think. There are obvious examples of children of neo-Nazis rejecting their upbringing, but that seems to be the exception, not even a minority. If you go to any store's toy aisles, there is at least one aisle that is unmistakably "girl" oriented, simply by the profusion of pink, and the toys in that aisle are hardly STEM oriented. Even today, studies still show that girls are less likely to be encouraged to pursue STEM-related schooling, particularly when the classes are coed. Tallness, whiteness, maleness, still seem to override technical knowhow and skill. STEM acolytes are still considered nerdy or geeky, although there is some pushback in touting geekiness as a radical "chic." The latest fashion in the that area are fake horn-rimmed glasses.

Current studies continue to show a latent bias against minorities, even without anything visual, i.e., only names that connote black or Latino roots are discriminated in favor of more traditional WASP names, even when using identical resumes with only the names being different.

TTFN
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert!
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers

### RE: Women in Engineering.

Irstuff: [/i]...Current studies continue to show a latent bias against minorities, even without anything visual, i.e., only names that connote black or Latino roots are discriminated in favor of more traditional WASP names, even when using identical resumes with only the names being different.[/i]

It only takes one or two vituperative bigots in those "soft science" studies to skew the average.

OTOH,

I used to work for a guy who actually did say, out loud, "then they get pregnant a year after you hire them"

STF

### RE: Women in Engineering.

from "new scientist " magazine ( UK):
Schools have an important role to play in breaking these damaging stereotypes, says Sullivan. When she and her colleagues assessed data from 17,000 individuals born in the 1950s and 70s, they found that girls in single-sex schools were more likely to study science and maths than those in coed ones. This finding has been replicated in recent research by the Institute of Physics, which found that girls at single-sex schools were almost two-and-a-half times more likely to study A-level physics than those at mixed schools. The same report found that almost half of the UK’s state schools sent no girls on to physics A-levels in 2011.

“It seems that at single-sex schools, there is less pressure to perform in a gender-stereotyped way,” says Sullivan. “Schools should explicitly challenge these stereotypes: they should present evidence that girls are as good at maths and science as boys, and better inform girls of the career impacts of their early subject choices, and the huge pay premium for STEM subjects, for example.”

"In this bright future, you can't forget your past..." Bob Marley

### RE: Women in Engineering.

I wonder what the ratio is for boys? I suspect boys at single-sex schools are more likely to study A-level physics than those at mixed schools. But by what factor?

I went to both mixed and single-sex schools in my childhood. The single-sex school had Oxbridge numbers as its performance metric. The mixed school filled the local dockyard.

Steve

### RE: Women in Engineering.

I didn't buy into much into needing role models on challenging stereotypes until I had my daughter. She is three now and will flat out tell you if something is only for boys or girls. She watches Doc McStuffins ,a cartoon with a dark skinned female doctor, a a lot and yeah that doesn't sound like a big deal but at least with my daughter I see certain thinking imprinted pretty young.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

2
As an engineer I would never ignore statistics, and I would never doubt that many women have experienced job discrimination, but as a female engineer I can't say I have ever faced any kind of professional discrimination in work or at university and have (to my knowledge) never been hired/declined a job, given a certain grade, invited to join teams etc. purely because of my gender. I have, however, experienced social differences. There's a happy medium between refusing to swear in front of me because I'm a lady and explicitly telling me how other women in the office rank in terms of attractiveness, and although most people find it, there are a few who struggle.

I find it's easier to take these kinds of things with a pinch of salt. This may be the 100th or so time you have experienced any type of discrimination, but this may be the first time that the discriminator has registered that what they are doing isn't exactly PC. I'm not suggesting we should ignore things that make us feel uncomfortable, I'm just suggesting we be professional when others might have an unprofessional attitude.

As I said, I can't comment on job discrimination since I have not personally experienced it but that bothers me significantly more than any social issue, since it's much more difficult to change.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

MS, welcome to the site, btw.

I think the main issue for me isn't what "they" say or don't, but rather it's the fact that they've not thought at all about what they say. Stereotypes aren't necessarily all bad, but people need to be aware of what stereotype they're promulgating, and whether those stereotypes hinder their targets in any way. To some degree, "sticks and stones, etc." but on the other hand, am I to be reduced to "slant eyes," or "Chink," or "gook?" What message does someone convey when they say in my presence, "No tickee, no washee?" Is that the way they see me, or do they think of me as "white?" Being nearsighted and a know-it-all as a kid, there were the additional taunts of "4-eye" and "nerd." I actually liked being compared to Mr. Peabody, since he could time travel, so that was kind of cool.

However, there are places I've paid money to get in, and almost immediately turned around and walked out, just because it was made clear to me that "Chinks" weren't welcome. In general, Asians get the benefit of the doubt, out stereotype is that we're high achievers and smart, but there's always an undercurrent of resentment for things that we achieve, as those are considered to be "oppressions" of the people that don't achieve. A white, female, junior-high classmate actually sued our school district because she didn't get into the magnet high school, and somehow, she won, resulting in a reverse-discrimination where Asians were then required to have a half-point higher GPA to get into that high school, compared to any other race.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers

### RE: Women in Engineering.

A very fascinating piece on NPR this morning about job discrimination and how much we'll do to do it: http://www.npr.org/2016/07/19/486571633/are-ban-th...

So, many localities have banned questioning an applicant about criminal history in the application form to try and minimize discrimination. Apparently, the end result was even worse discrimination, for blacks; HR folks simply don't bother interviewing people with black-sounding names, thus discriminating not only against black ex-convicts, but also anyone with a black-sounding name. Of course, that allows white ex-convicts to make it through the first gate...

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers

### RE: Women in Engineering.

It reminds me of when I was in college (the late 60's) when companies were still asking people to check a 'box' indicating their racial heritage. The federal government finally got around to banning that practice, I assume as a consequence of some ruling that resulted from the '1964 Civil Rights Act' but companies immediately started asking for a B&W photo to be attached to the application. I was aware of this because I was running a 'photo service' out of my apartment at the time and while there was always a decent demand for passport photos, senior pictures, etc, for about a year there I did a brisk business in 'job application photos' until of course that blatant 'loophole' was closed, again by the feds.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

### RE: Women in Engineering.

This also brings up the question of whether something similar is happening with gender identity. It's been over 35 years since I've filled out a job application so I don't know if they're allowed to ask if an applicant is male or female. I ask because I have granddaughters with names that could be confusing. Our oldest is named 'Tyler' and #3 is named 'Ryan' (the other three have more feminine names, Sydney, Lynsey and Paloma, but speaking of strange names, our #2 son has two step-sons named Cosmo and Pirate).

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

### RE: Women in Engineering.

I suspect that learning role playing at an early age is imprinted into our genes, as it likely had a survival aspect to it . Prior to 1900, it was not uncommon for mothers to die at childbirth, and it was important for someone to care for the remaining surviving children, thus the role playing necessity. It is often easy to forget that we have evolved our bodies and minds over 1 million yrs of living in the wild , and have remnants of survival methods that are out of place in modern society.

IRstuff is correct that some companies had established the practice of never interviewing applicants that have black-sounding names. Apparently the company can only be sued for discrimination if the company (a) accepts the resume plus(b) interviews the applicant then (c) does not offer the person the job if they are a racial minority and the company has a low faction of minorities. By skipping part (b), they cannot be sued.

"In this bright future, you can't forget your past..." Bob Marley

### RE: Women in Engineering.

Would some of this be solved by asking if the applicant can pass a background check, and drug test, As both of these are required for most engineering jobs?

### RE: Women in Engineering.

One thing that might compromise progress in equality is the shift in the US to a more religious mentality, particularly in the service industries. One wonders if that won't spill over into not hiring women because "the Bible says..."

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers

### RE: Women in Engineering.

Likewise other religions could have a ban on women working, or even driving a car.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

.. the US is an oasis...

If this was the pub, I'd say IRstuff has had a few too many.
There are dozens of countries where women make up a larger share of the STEM workforce.
It also seems to be going down in the USA, too, so to answer your question, not for much longer.

One source of evidence:
http://datatopics.worldbank.org/gender/

STF

### RE: Women in Engineering.

OK, so a tattered oasis. It might have something to do with one of the few things that Democratic Socialism and other egalitarian movements got right, while our refusal and denial of even the most minor advances of socialism continues to stymie us.

I was struck today by the meeting of the new British PM Teresa May and Angela Merkel. Regardless of anything else, both these countries and a number of other ones have, or had, women in charge of their governments already, while the US still has not, and if we don't get one this election, it'll be because we'll have elected a self-aggrandizing buffoon instead. Even a country like India, with rampant sexual discrimination, or even Pakistan, beat us to that punch.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers

### RE: Women in Engineering.

Or it could be because the larger share of the voters believe she is not qualified.

Electing someone based on gender is not rational, unless it has a clear advantage. In our case it has no advantage.

I would like a third choice, but that's not going to happen. So I am left with choosing the least of two bad choices.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

Not saying there's an advantage, but there's certainly no disadvantage; the fact is that while there's a majority female population in the US, only 20% of the Congress are female. Assuming equal competence and equal desire, then there's something missing there.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers

### RE: Women in Engineering.

I like what Notorious RBG, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, said when approached about how many women on the SCOTUS Court is "enough", back in early 2015:

#### Quote:

"Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said there will be enough women on the Supreme Court when it is all women.

Ginsburg said, “People ask me sometimes, when do you think it will be enough? When will there be enough women on the court? And my answer is, when there are nine. Some people are taken aback, until they remember that for most of our country’s history, there were only men on the high court bench.”

She's not wrong. With so many candidates available for a seat when they open up, it's not at all difficult to think that the best candidate for the job could be a woman 9 times consecutively. That's not statistically unfavorable. That, to me, isn't proof of some sexism if the pendulum swung 'the other way' as I think many believe.

It's not 'vengeance' or 'eye for an eye' retribution. It's not "reverse sexism". If we were really honest about professional selections, we wouldn't bat an eye at the idea of a panel of all women happening at any point.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

Cranky108,

Too often I hear this sentiment:
"I can't vote third party, that would be throwing my vote away!"
If you're at the point where neither primary candidate represents you, your vote is trash to begin with. Consider voting for a third party, where there might be even the slightest chance of electing a reasonable candidate.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

If your vote is tallied, it is not "thrown away". You have expressed your opinion, and you were heard. It's not like you're betting on a roulette table.

In some ways, third-party votes resonate louder. The major parties take notice of who is voting third-party and why, and respond with long-term changes to their positions.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

I sometimes wonder what would happen if Mickey mouse actually won.

There are other things to think about other than the candidate. Like the markets, the unions, etc.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

@GregLocock

This isn't flipping a coin. This isn't a statistically equal microcosmic binary digit being flipped a million times. The SCOTUS is not a statistically relevant number to anything.

Real life does not follow a path of simple statistical means or averages. There's a nearly infinite number of happenstances that can occur leading up to the appointment of a S.C. Justice to alter a pool of possibles and none of it has to do with the statistical possibility of a simple 'Y' chromosome in an average human population.

Simple taking 2^9 is irrelevant.

More importantly: Is there something wrong with the idea of having 9 women on the bench?

### RE: Women in Engineering.

Based on the women there at the moment, I think there is a lot wrong with having any more.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

#### Quote (TheTick)

If your vote is tallied, it is not "thrown away". You have expressed your opinion, and you were heard. It's not like you're betting on a roulette table.

In some ways, third-party votes resonate louder. The major parties take notice of who is voting third-party and why, and respond with long-term changes to their positions.

Quite a few years ago here in Canada, a bunch of Quebec Separatistes voted for the Parti Rhinoceros. The result was that a number of Rhino candidates were runners up in the election.

--
JHG

### RE: Women in Engineering.

2

#### Quote (hokie66)

Based on the women there at the moment, I think there is a lot wrong with having any more.
Pretty sure you're part of the problem.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

So you would object to having right leaning women in the court? You believe only left leaning women should on the court.

What does that say about you?

### RE: Women in Engineering.

@cranky108

If you're responding to me, let me clarify:
The problem is finding a few people disagreeable based upon experience with them, and painting everyone like them (in whatever likeness; gender, race etc) with the same disdain, encouraging barring them from participating. That's bigotry and not acceptable.

I'm saying there's nothing wrong with women on the court, full stop. I've strongly disagreed with some of Sotomayor's rulings, in particular, but I've never once thought it was because she's a woman.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

@IRstuff:

#### Quote:

"More importantly: Is there something wrong with the idea of having 9 women on the bench?"

Post by hokie66 from 21 Jul 16 20:45 appears to respond with:

#### Quote:

"Based on the women there at the moment, I think there is a lot wrong with having any more."
(emphasis mine)

If I'm drawing an improper conclusion, I can't see reading it any other way. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

I think you're stretching to be honest. I'm all for giving a person the benefit of the doubt, especially via text, but it seemed clear to me. The subject of the exchange was women. In general. Not conservative women, constitutionalist women, libertarian women, liberal women, progressive women, or any other adjective. So "having any more" only logically points to "any more women".

Whether in jest, light-heartedly or with a seriousness, it matters not. The effect is the same; proliferation of a poisonous and backwards mindset.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

Here's an infuriating story to raise the hackles of our precious few female members and get the discussion back on track...

On a recent flight, I sat next to a young woman returning from a job interview. She is a recent graduate with a BS in physics, obviously quite bright and curious. She interviewed with a tech company in Silicon Valley.

They dragged her all the way out to California, only to tell her upon arrival that they were not going to interview her for a technical position, but for an office position. The HR hack would not even consider introducing her to any of the managers on the tech side, even though that was the premise that originally brought her out there.

During the interview, they declined to give her a complete tour of the facility. The interviewer said it would be "cruel" to let her see the parts of the operation that she would not be allowed to work in but would certainly be most interested in.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

Given the poster, I think the "Based on the women there at the moment" refers to the fact that all 3 women currently on the court are all left-leaning. While the question was clear, there's always a tinge of politics or religion in question such as this.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers

### RE: Women in Engineering.

* beats head slowly against the wall *

I went to our local ASCE meeting yesterday. 40 people there - 3 female engineers. But yeah, it's all because women aren't interested in engineering. It has nothing to do with the fact that about 75% of the males at that meeting were unwilling to make eye contact with us or say hello, let alone hire us for fair pay. (And they weren't just shy nerds - they were introducing themselves around like mad to each other.)

Have I told the story of when my mom went to a meeting (PhD in nuclear physics, freakin' AMAZING at it) as the expert in whatever the meeting was, and one of the men assumed she was someone's secretary and started explaining just the very basics of physics to her? He wanted to make sure she wasn't lost while taking notes. SHE WAS THERE AS THE EXPERT.

I'm super glad that some women never have to deal with this. I really am. I sure wish that had been my experience. I will say that I'm so much quicker to call out the BS to someone's face than I was as a young engineer, and that helps. Having my own company helps too, because folks know when they call that I'm a woman so it likely culls the herd a bit.

Please remember: we're not all guys!

### RE: Women in Engineering.

Not to turn this into being any more 'political' than what it already is, I'm wondering what you all think of what the campaign manager for a major party's presidential candidate had to say when asked a question about women:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/paul-manafort-...

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

### RE: Women in Engineering.

Tick, while it's easy to assume sexism was a factor in that young scientists experience (and it may well have been) based on what you said it's hard to be sure.

If we want to trade anecdotes of crummy treatment of fresh grads etc. on their initial interviews by mega corporations then I've got at least one to tell that presumably had nothing to do with sexism - although the HR person that treated me badly was female so who knows.

Likewise it's easy to put down to sexism what could be explained by what I suppose would be 'ageism'. Have an anecdote on that one I could share but I'm not sure how helpful it would be.

Then as to the racism mentioned earlier I could give a few anecdotes of a person I know who is from a certain ethnic minority but could pass for white who has been turned down for jobs for what appears to be reasons of not being the right ethnicity. Again though, hard to be entirely sure in most cases and not directly relevant to females in engineering.

One anecdote I will share that hopefully points out not all male engineers are sexist French showers, one of our young engineers was a new dad and was talking for some reason about what his daughter might want to be when she grew up and the idea of being something like a mechanic or similar came up. He was strongly opposed to the idea - as far as we could tell due to gender issues not because it was too low paying or something - and so I think pretty much every other male engineer present immediately jumped on him for it.

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

### RE: Women in Engineering.

What's infuriating (to me) is that it seems men in Silicon Valley are often hired merely on the basis of adequate body temperature. Here was a woman with perfectly good entry-level credentials being ushered to the kitchen.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

I'm having a hard time accepting that as anything other than a gross outlier. My work experience in Silicon Valley is admittedly dated, but we had lots of women in engineering roles, and during the "warm body" phases, gender was never even a consideration. I've mentioned my smelly coworker a few times before, but surely, if we could have found a qualified non-smelly, designer, we would have, gender or not. And certainly, while there's still a lack of women in engineering roles, most companies Facebook and Google are extremely neutral about hiring, particularly since that woman could probably have sued the company for at least several years of salary, if only for emotional abuse and distress.

Ageism, on the other hand, might be more real, given that the average age of a Facebook engineer is probably around 25, and on my visits to the campus, the older folks tend to be like me, parents visiting their kids at work (and mooching a meal).

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers

### RE: Women in Engineering.

Actually it's not uncommon to have male engineers that won't look other people in the eye. Many also have wimpy handshakes. So for complaints like that, it maybe a perception issue.
I've even heard, but mostly from software types, that some don't take showers, and may even live in their offices, or cubes. Sort of lack of personal hygiene thing.

I've also heard complaints by field people who don't like female engineers because there is some perception that there is a need to act or talk differently. This maybe a social thing that we (at least I) can't help. There may also be other factors also.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

cranky108 - "Actually it's not uncommon to have male engineers that won't look other people in the eye. Many also have wimpy handshakes. So for complaints like that, it maybe a perception issue."

SLTA - "(And they <the men> weren't just shy nerds - they were introducing themselves around like mad to each other.)"

Implies they were acting differently to the ladies than with each other cranky.

There's always room for perception bias, seeing discrimination where there is none (I've been accused of racial discrimination where there honestly wasn't any - not saying I don't have a racist bone just saying in the situation I was accused of it there was none).

Also acting as if you're being discriminated against can induce different behavior toward you i.e. self fulfilling prophecy.

However, if SLTA says she sees quite a bit of discrimination, then I'm guessing there must be at least some fire in the smoke.

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

### RE: Women in Engineering.

I at least don't go the IEEE meetings to meet new people. But to interact with people I already know, but that I don't see that much. Social hour does not mean I need to meet everyone. And in fact I don't enjoy talking to professors from the local university.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

"I've even heard, but mostly from software types, that some don't take showers, and may even live in their offices, or cubes. Sort of lack of personal hygiene thing."

Now we're slamming software engineers with stereotypes? Even my stinky coworker would start the day fairly odorless, so I'm pretty sure it was a body chemistry thing. The one person I ever remembering smelling a bit ripe at the start of the day was actually our department secretary; it must have been one of the hygiene things for her. The only man that I ever saw living at work was actually due his wife having an affair with another coworker and divorcing him, so he slept in the women's bathroom, since they all used to have those nice comfy couches, back in the day. Now, one of my schoolmates in high school and college did have the thick glasses, dandruff, and holey t-shirt, but he was the one outlier out of several hundred CompSci students, so more of a rarity than a stereotype.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers

### RE: Women in Engineering.

Pardon me for expecting a local professional society meeting to be at least partly about networking.

Please remember: we're not all guys!

### RE: Women in Engineering.

Such a familiar cycle.

1- instance of bias or exclusion observed
2- reasonably explained/presented to others anecdotally
3- people who weren't there try to explain that it probably wasn't at all like the person thought

And thus it keeps getting swept under the rug ad infinitum.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

It's funny how you never hear about more men needing to become nurses. I'm not against anything but it's interesting it's always about women in the media.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

there are on the order of 10% of nurses that are male: http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/human-capital...

While the ethnic distribution is comparable to that of the general population, the gender distribution isn't.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers

### RE: Women in Engineering.

Because as men, we're winning right now. You don't really need 'help' getting employment opportunities when you're already "on top". Nothing, afaik, is STOPPING men from becoming nurses. The couple friends that took that route had no trouble and never mentioned any barriers.

The goal is the removal of unjust barriers so that (ideally) the only issue is what someone chooses to become, within their abilities.

The EXISTENCE of a gender gap is not PROOF of unjust barriers. The existence of a huge gender gap, coupled with institutionalized sexism, widespread corporate misogyny, and a not-too-long-ago deliberate oppression of women IS, however, a mounting pile of evidence showing that there are barriers for women to succeed based upon the same criteria men can succeed.

Oh, and of course, the uphill battle of fighting the denial and scoffing of people who just don't want to admit there are problems.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

I'm not exactly in denial that there is a problem, but I also don't think all of the issues brought up are proof of what the exact problem is.

I also would like to point out that I work with more female engineers than I do male admin assistants. So is that proof of anything? I would like to know what the real barriers are, not the stories of men who are don't want to be social.

And as another thing, I do have coworkers that I would not want to introduce anyone to, as they have less social skills than I do.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

This thread has been going on for a while and there were numerous studies linked regarding the differences that exist, where they exist, and how environment can influence the development of young people before they have even started a professional life.

It has nothing to do with a firm handshake or looking someone in the eyes. At all.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

Engineering is a vague word. When a male engineer falls in love with a female engineer, a small baby will be born. Nowadays it is not as clear as that, because there are other possibilities…Women and men should be equal as engineers or in any other profession, maybe women are even more intelligent than men

lm

### RE: Women in Engineering.

Why in the world would an engineer want to fall in love with another engineer?

### RE: Women in Engineering.

"When a male engineer falls in love with a female engineer, a small baby will be born."

neither necessary nor sufficient for the outcome to occur

"Why in the world would an engineer want to fall in love with another engineer"

There's a certain level of intimacy that will always not be there if your SO is either not an engineer or not familiar with engineering; we almost never talk about my work at home, even though we do talk about her work. Even the mere mention of engineering results in a glazed eye look.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers

### RE: Women in Engineering.

As an engineer I try to fix problems. To hear another engineers problems, is like two days work in one day.

Or said another way, don't tell me about problems you don't want me to solve.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

I don't know cranky, being able to talk cranes and cofferdams with my wife is amazing. That said, we have about the perfect blend of overlapping worlds (construction) but different expertise (structural vs environmental) -- so not much risk of trying to solve the other's problems.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

We are speaking about engineering, IRstuff! “Women and men are equal as engineers or in any other profession; maybe women are even more intelligent than men"

cranky108

I don´t know the answer to your question...Sometimes...It just happens!

lm

### RE: Women in Engineering.

#### Quote (kacarrol)

I thought this article summarizing statistics on comments from blogs deserved a mention here:
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/01/1501...

Someone please correct me if my left brain is failing, but I believe the statistics in this article are completely meaningless without knowing the ratio of men to women who were participating in the observed fora.

Also of note is that different online fora attract different people. Take a look at the Fox News forum, and then jump over to ABC to see what I mean. Three online fora is nowhere near large enough a sample to make such a broad conclusion. This forum, for example, would probably drift many of these statistics the other way, at least based on this thread.

Disclaimer: I am in no way disputing that gender bias exists in the workplace and/or hiring process. I am just pointing out shenanigans where I see them.

### RE: Women in Engineering.

?? the gender distribution was supposedly roughly equal https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/01/08/new... Nevertheless, the ratio of women to men is irrelevant, so long as both populations are sufficient in size, and a total of 831 seems healthy enough.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers

### RE: Women in Engineering.

To me, the fundamental problem is jealousy. It is one of the ugliest and most destructive emotions of mankind. Jealousy drives people to all sorts of evil.

After reading Carol Dweck's book, Mindset, and George Simon's book, Character Disturbance, I understand better what's happened in my own life. As I read those books, pieces of understanding fell into place changing the way I think about people and myself forever. The veil of ignorance has been removed about disturbed characters, their influence on the human mind, and what is truly neurotic.

A fellow engineer, male, called me The Token or The Girl often for years. I thought I was strong. I wasn't. Those words still ring in my mind today. I have walked each step of my life and mostly alone. And I am not a token. I am an engineer and I have worked hard as an engineer to make life better for others. That is what matters.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC

### RE: Women in Engineering.

lacajun,

People who say stuff like that, or call you stuff like that, are...well...stupid.

You can't fix stupid. You're better off ignoring it. Good to see you have done a good job just blowing it off.

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