EWeek: Introduce a Girl to Engineering

By Consulting Specifying Engineer Staff February 9, 2006

With a sharpened focus on diversifying the ranks of engineering, Engineers Week 2006, February 19-25, will spearhead an all-out effort to reach young women and girls, especially during the sixth annual Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day on Feb. 23.

“Girl Day,” as it’s known among engineers, is one of the most crucial components of the EWeek outreach. Women engineers, with help from their male counterparts, are planning to reach as many as one million girls through workshops, tours, speaking engagements, on-line discussions and a host of other activities aimed at showing that engineering is an important career option for everyone.

Engineers have long promoted diversity outreach, but Girl Day 2006 takes on added urgency on the heels of startling findings from a survey of attitudes among high school girls, teachers and counselors, engineering students, and engineers.

According to the Extraordinary Women Engineers Project (EWEP) study, led by a coalition of engineering associations and the WGBH Educational Foundation and released in April 2005, more than 90% of high school girls do not even consider engineering as a career option.

More troubling is the fact that there is no lack of ability or preparation on the part of girls and young women. Previous studies have found that girls, on average, are just as or more likely as boys to have taken the high school science and math courses (biology, chemistry, physics, and advanced algebra) necessary to enter engineering school.

Currently, about 10% of America’s engineers are women, despite the fact that women make up 46% of the nation’s workforce. To counter that, Engineers Week—a 55-year-old consortium of professional and technical societies and major corporations—launched Girl Day in 2001.

Organizations and engineers are urged to list their Girl Day activities on the online Pledge Roster at www.eweek.org/site/News/Eweek/2006_nationalpledgeroster.shtml .