Women Is Under Represented or Not in Science and Engineering Field Term Paper

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Women in Engineering

Gender has always played a significant role in the success and opportunities available for both men and women in the various employment fields. For example, many careers have been stereotyped as either traditionally male or traditionally female. Generally professional, science orientated fields such as doctors, lawyers, engineers, business CEOs and architects have been dominated by males. Females, on the other hand, have dominated traditionally entry level and children orientated jobs such as teaching, nursing, and secretarial work.

Of course within the last few decades these gender roles have eroded significantly and women have more opportunities to succeed in a wider range of careers. However, as women entered these male-dominated fields they often found what has been referred to as "the glass ceiling." According to this theory, although women could get the typically male-orientated jobs, they were limited in advancement opportunities.

However even the glass ceiling is beginning to fall. As women become more and more educated as women continue to outnumber men in most college programs, opportunities for advancement will follow. According to one study, as the number of women who graduate with advanced degrees in such areas as law and business has increased in the past decade, so has the number of women holding top level jobs in those fields. An excellent example of this trend is the number of women holding top editor jobs, once a male-only club. This change coincided with an equal increase in women earning journalism and other related college degrees.

However, the science and math fields still lag behind in terms of gender equality. Although it is getting better, such fields as engineering are still male dominated.

According to a study conducted by the Society of Women Engineers, only twenty percent of all undergraduate engineering students are women. Although this number is low, it is double what it was ten years ago. Similarly, women currently make up 20% of all graduate level engineering students, up from under 5% ten years ago. (Society of Women Engineers). However, in the workforce women only make up 10% of all engineers.

Does this mean that women are discriminated against in the engineering field? Or does it simply mean the de-gentrification process is gradual and correlates with the number of women receiving degrees in these programs?

It is the position of this paper that as women graduate with advanced degrees, the number of women in engineering will increase. Further, as the number of women in engineering increases, so too will opportunities for advancement and higher pay.

According to an interview with Dr. Hayden, a female electrical engineer professor at Cal Poly Pamona, both women and men face challenges in the engineering field. Although she was once encouraged to "try another, more female field" she was able to succeed in her field, despite being a female. She does admit that women have faced hardships in their pursuit of successful engineering careers, but "for every negative experience..I have had many more positive experiences." According to Dr. Hayden, the hardships are part of the learning process.

Dr. Hayden does not attribute the lack of women in engineering to any specific part of being female, such as choosing to have children and raise a family. Instead she points to the general lack of engineering students as attributable for the lack of women engineers.

Dr. Hayden uses the medical field as an example of the correlation between education and careers. Until recently women physicians were greatly outnumbered by males. However, as Dr. Hayden correctly points out, this is no longer the case. Since medical school is now nearly equally… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Women Is Under Represented or Not in Science and Engineering Field.  (2006, August 20).  Retrieved December 12, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/women-represented-science-engineering/57317

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