Women in Engineering Careers


Dr Mae C Jemison
Engineering has always been a male-dominated profession. However, universities and the engineering industry have begun to recognize the need for women engineers and are actively recruiting young women at high school level to enter the field.

Engineers are problem solvers who apply math, science, technology, and design to problems in business and government. Their skills are usually applied to high-tech, scientific, or industrial fields. Most engineers are specialists in computer, mechanical, chemical, software, or aerospace engineering.

Whenever there’s a need for a new product or process an engineer or a team of engineers are hired to create it as efficiently and economically as possible. An engineer can be present in all phases of a new product from conception to customer support.

Young girls in high school have been found to be as strong in mathematics and sciences as boys but their interests have traditionally been redirected to English and the social sciences due to traditional thinking that engineering is for men. However, engineering graduates have been declining in the past few years while the need for engineers has increased. In fact there is a grave shortage of civil engineers.

Many feel that since 63% of college graduates are women the problem could be solved by recruiting young high school girls into engineering careers. There are several events specifically aimed at this goal. Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day is an expansion of Engineers Week each February. The Society of Women Engineers is working closely with the Girl Scouts in promoting engineering careers to young women. This organization sponsors engineering camps that includes activities such as coloring contests and Lego building for girls in kindergarten through high school.

An interest in mathematics and science is a prerequisite for a successful career in engineering. There are many grants and scholarships in place for women who decide to pursue this career. Find a college or university that actively recruits potential women in engineering and you will find all the help you need to get started.