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Why Should I Care Who’s an Engineer? The Need for Women in Engineering. Cathy Pieronek SWE Title IX Lead 4 May 2013. Agenda. Introduction & motivation History of women in engineering Status of women in engineering today Why the under-representation of women in engineering matters

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Why Should I Care Who’s an Engineer? The Need for Women in Engineering


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    1. Why Should I Care Who’s an Engineer? The Need for Women in Engineering Cathy Pieronek SWE Title IX Lead 4 May 2013

    2. Agenda • Introduction & motivation • History of women in engineering • Status of women in engineering today • Why the under-representation of women in engineering matters • Why women are under-represented in engineering • What you need to know

    3. Presenter – Cathy Pieronek • Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs College of Engineering, Univ. of Notre Dame • Also initiated and currently direct ND’s Women’s Engineering Program • Education • B.S. in aerospace engineering, Notre Dame • M.S. in aerospace engineering, UCLA • J.D., Notre Dame • Engineering experience • Spacecraft systems engineer, NASA programs, TRW Space & Defense Sector, Redondo Beach, CA • SWE Title IX Lead • Focusing on the application of Title IX to STEM fields

    4. Motivation • While women have made great strides across all fields of study and employment, their unequal representation in STEM fields matters • Women comprise only 10-12% of the engineering workforce, but nearly 50% of payroll employment nationally • STEM fields are among the highest-paying, especially at the entry level (bachelor’s degree only) • Unequal participation of women in STEM fields results in: • Lower national economic competitiveness • Persistent economic inequity for women and their families • Less racial and ethnic diversity in the workforce

    5. History of Women in Engineering

    6. Before 1972 • In the 1960s, women were ~50% of college-aged population, but earned • 53.8% of all high school diplomas • 43% of all bachelor’s degrees (any major) • 0.7% of all engineering bachelor’s degrees • More single-sex colleges than today • Women’s colleges didn’t offer engineering • Women had limited access to certain programs • Co-ed colleges limited enrollment of women • Law, medicine, etc., limited participation of women

    7. Moment of Change: Title IX Enacted (1972) • Congress sought to prohibit sex-based discrimination in all federally funded educational programs and activities • Bans all sex-based discrimination at K-12 and post-secondary levels • Caused major changes in higher education • Many all-men’s colleges opened to women or merged with sister schools • Historically co-ed schools opened all academic (and athletic) programs to women

    8. A decade later (1982) • In 1982, women earned: • 50.5% of all bachelor’s degrees • 12.3% of engineering bachelor’s degrees • An increase of 1657% over 1972 • Post-graduate engineering degrees earned by women also increased dramatically • From 1.6% to 9% of master’s degrees • From 0.6% to 4.7% of PhD degrees

    9. 1982 to 2008 • Number of engineering bachelor’s degrees granted to women grew significantly from 1972 to 1985, but leveled off quickly • No real growth in numbers since 1985 • Percentage changes result from large fluctuations in number of men earning EG degrees • Growth in engineering master’s and Ph.D. degrees continued slowly, and leveled off around 1995 • Today, slight growth again at both advanced degree levels • But, 42% of MS and 48% of PhD degrees go to non-domestic students

    10. Status of Women in Engineering Today

    11. Status of women in higher ed today • 48.6% of US college-aged population (18-24 year olds) • 57.4% of bachelor’s degrees; 18.5% of engineering BS degrees • 6.3% non-US, vs. 5.9% for men • 60.6% of master’s degrees; 23% of engineering MS degrees • 41.2% non-US, vs. 40.3% for men • 50.4% of doctoral degrees; 21.6% of engineering PhD degrees • 54.0% non-US, vs. 62.7% for men • Women are over-represented in chemical, civil, agricultural and bioengineering, among other fields • Good news: chemical is highest-paid at B.S. level • Bad news: other disciplines at lower end of engineering pay scale

    12. Women in Illinois & Missouri vs. Nation • Bachelor’s degrees earned by women: • Nationally, 57.4% • Illinois, 56.7% • Missouri, 58.1% • Engineering bachelor’s degrees earned by women: • Nationally, 18.2% (6.3% to foreign nationals) • Illinois, 18.0% (17.1% to foreign nationals) • Missouri, 18.7% (7.0% to foreign nationals) • Engineering master’s degrees earned by women: • Nationally, 22.6% (41.2% to foreign nationals) • Illinois, 24.5% (65.3% to foreign nationals) • Missouri, 17.6% (46.7% to foreign nationals) • Engineering PhD degrees earned by women: • Nationally, 21.7% (54.0% to foreign nationals) • Illinois, 22.7% (54.0% to foreign nationals) • Missouri, 25.2% (64.5% to foreign nationals)

    13. U.S. Demographics • Overall, the group of women earning B.S. degrees in engineering is more diverse than the group of men • Women earning engineering B.S. degrees = 61.4% white • Illinois, 57.8% white • Missouri, 78.1% white • Men earning engineering B.S. degrees = 70.4% white • Illinois, 65.3% white • Missouri, 82.8% white • Nationwide, women earn • 23% of engineering BS degrees granted to non-white domestic students (in Illinois, 20.4%; in Missouri, 25.4%) • 25.5% of engineering BS degrees granted to African-American students (in Illinois, 23.7%; in Missouri, 25.4%) • But only 16.3% of engineering BS degrees granted to white students (in Illinois, 16.2%; in Missouri, 17.8%)

    14. Top Producers of Female Engineering Graduates: U.S. • Engineering schools that grant more than 50 engineering degrees per year, 10 highest percentages of female engineers (ASEE 2010-11 data): • Olin College of Engineering 44.9% • MIT 43.4% • Univ. of Tennessee, Chattanooga 41.9% • Howard University (HBCU) 38.2% • Brown University 36.2% • Tuskegee University 36.1% • Harvey Mudd College 35.9% • Columbia University 35.3% • Dartmouth College 34.5% • Mercer University 33.3% • Of this list, only MIT (at #25) also appears in the top 50 producers of engineering B.S. degrees

    15. Female Engineering Graduates by School in Illinois and Missouri • Illinois (18% women overall) • Northwestern 325 total 105 (F) 32.3% • Olivet Nazarene 7 2 28.6% • Illinois Institute of Tech. 256 64 25.0% • Illinois – Urbana/Champaign 1468 248 16.9% • So. Illinois – Carbondale 135 21 15.6% • So. Illinois – Edwardsville 235 33 14.0% • Illinois – Chicago 392 55 14.0% • Bradley University 180 21 11.7% • Northern Illinois University 121 12 9.9% • Missouri (18.7% women overall) • Southeast Missouri State 5 2 40.0% • Washington U St. Louis 270 82 30.4% • Missouri U of Science & Tech 843 152 18.0% • St. Louis University 99 17 17.2% • Missouri – Columba & KC 398 49 12.3%

    16. Additional Facts - Illinois • 75% of Illinois college students are Illinois residents • 22.6% of male high school students, but only 2.3% of female high school students, are interested in a career in engineering • By 2018, Illinois is projected to need to fill 348,000 STEM jobs (75,000 in engineering alone) – 6th among states • In 2008-09, Illinois schools awarded 15,767 STEM degrees (22.7% of all degrees awarded, below national average of 24.2%) • In 2008-09, Illinois schools awarded 3198 engineering & engineering technology degrees (4.6% of all degrees, national average is 5.3%) • UIUC, grants most engineering degrees in state (1468), but only 11 to African Americans (0.7%) and 50 to Hispanics (3.4%) • African Americans comprise 14.5% of state’s population • Hispanics comprise 15.8% of state’s population

    17. Additional Facts - Missouri • 72% of Missouri college students are Missouri residents • 24.4% of male high school students, but only 2.3% of female high school students, are interested in a career in engineering • By 2018, Missouri is projected to need to fill 143,000 STEM jobs (32,000 in engineering alone) – 20th among states • In 2008-09, Missouri schools awarded 9588 STEM degrees (25% of all degrees awarded, above national average of 24.2%) • In 2008-09, Missouri schools awarded 1837 engineering & engineering technology degrees (4.9% of all degrees, national average is 5.3%) • MST, grants most engineering degrees in state (843), but only 42 to African Americans (5.0%) and 15 to Hispanics (1.8%) • African Americans comprise 11.6% of state’s population • Hispanics comprise 3.5% of state’s population

    18. Why the Under-representation of Women in Engineering Matters

    19. For Women - Economic Equity • Math, computer science and engineering are among the highest-paid occupations (BLS 2007). • Higher average new assistant professor salaries (CHE 3/7/11) • Engineering: $76,518 • Psychology: $54,859 • Biology & biomed sciences: $57,272 • Top 10 highest-paying jobs with only a bachelor’s degree are all EG, CS or IT fields (NACE 2010) • Median salary for people age 29 & younger by first degree favors engineering degrees. • Engineering $56K • Psychology $35K • Biology $30K • Small wage gap between men and women with engineering degrees.

    20. For Our Communities -Competitiveness • Proportion of white men in US population will shrink to about 34% in the coming decades. • Currently, white men comprise 67.5% of all employed engineers • A lack of women and other under-represented groups in engineering will hurt economic competitiveness. • Currently, women comprise 11.5% of all employed engineers • Minority males comprise 21% • Demand for scientists & engineers over the next decade is expected to increase at four times the rate of all other occupations (Georgetown University 2010)

    21. For Our Industries – Good Business • Women make most purchasing decisions • Women design for women in ways men don’t • Business studies have shown that women leaders tend to behave more ethically than male leaders • Tend to be less inclined to take excessive risks • Companies with at least one woman on the board have better business results, better risk management and lower rates of bankruptcy than companies with no woman on the board (Int’l J of Business Governance and Ethics, 2013) • Women on corporate boards are far more likely than men to favor increased boardroom diversity, new regulations for executive compensation, proxy access for shareholders and enhanced risk management (Heidrick & Struggles, 2010) • Many studies have highlighted the value of diversity on project/work teams • Improving conditions for women also can lead to increased diversity

    22. Factors that Affect the Success of Women in Engineering

    23. Why are women underrepresented in engineering? • Internal factors • Interest • Christina Hoff Sommers of AEI: her granddaughter prefers playing with dolls, so (all) girls must be differently wired • Ability • Lawrence Summers, former Harvard president: women just can’t do science the way men can • Various studies that show that girls have lower levels of spatial reasoning skills than boys • External factors • Climate • Hostile or supportive or ambivalent? • Culture - Messages we send our girls and young women

    24. Interest? • If interest truly is a function of genetics, we’d expect to see similar trends across the globe • Significant regional differences internationally • Significant regional differences nationally • Lower participation of women in engineering in the southeast US and Utah (religious/cultural) • Likely more a matter of acculturation/culture than genetics

    25. International Trends • By region, percentage of first engineering degrees granted to women: • South America 34.5% • Central/Eastern Europe 31.5% • Africa 29.2% • Western Europe 27.5% • Oceania 25.3% • North/Central America 23.2% • Middle East 22.1% • Asia 18.6% • But, no data by gender available for China, Russia or India, which together account for 45% of all first engineering degrees granted worldwide.

    26. International Trends • Countries granting more than 5,000 first engineering degrees – top five producers of female engineers: • Argentina 48.7% • Algeria 37.9% • Columbia 37.8% • Bulgaria 37.7% • Portugal 35.2% • United States: 26th of 31 countries on this list, at 19.5% • Bottom five: • Japan 11.6% • Taiwan 13.5% • Netherlands 14.5% • United Kingdom 15.5% • Iraq 18.9%

    27. Interest varies by field • Women comprise more than 30% of B.S. graduates in agricultural, bio, chemical, environmental and industrial engineering (EWC 2011) • These fields together account for 33.6% of all engineering B.S. degrees earned by women in 2011 • But, these fields together account for only 17.9% of all engineering B.S. degrees granted nationwide in 2011 • Women are under-represented in the four largest engineering fields (mechanical, civil, electrical & computer) (EWC 2011) • Together account for 66% of all engineering B.S. degrees in 2011 • But only 48.7% of all degrees granted to women • Civil is 20.5% women, while others are 11-11.5% women

    28. Interest – IL/MO universities • U of Illinois Urbana/Champaign (16.9%) • 48% bioengineering, 38% agricultural, 30% chemical, 25% each civil and metallurgical • Fields account for 30% of UIUC engineering degrees • Northwestern (32.3%) • Reasonably well distributed across fields, but no female graduates in computer engineering, and low representation in electrical engineering • Missouri U of Science & Technology (18%) • 42% architectural, 35% chemical, 26% civil • Fields account for 26% of MST engineering degrees • Washington U of St. Louis (30.4%) • 47% of bioengineers • Accounts for 37% of WUSL engineering degrees

    29. Ability? • Eighth-grade boys and girls exhibit equivalent performance on math assessment tests, and have for at least two decades (NAEP 2009). • High school girls take 55% of all AP tests (College Board 2009): • 47% of calculus and chemistry tests • But only 31% of physics tests and 17% of computer science tests • High school girls represent 53% of all SAT test-takers: • Score lower in math than boys (average 31 points) • But outperform men in college-level math courses • KEY POINT: Need to understand what happens in high schools to discourage girls

    30. Ability? • Generally, girls do not perform as well as boys on spatial reasoning tests, but recent studies have proven that this is a skill that can be taught – it is not simply an innate characteristic • Engineers are problem-solvers by education; mothers are problem solvers by necessity – girls need to have their problem-solving abilities reinforced • Likely more a matter of acculturation/culture than ability, either innate or learnable

    31. Climate? • Athena Factor (HBR 2008) revealed climate issues in the IT industry: • Masculine-oriented culture, sometimes hostile • Severe isolation • Mysterious career paths • Systems of reward that emphasize risk-taking • Extreme work pressures (travel, extended work-weeks) • Stemming the Tide (UW-Madison 2011) studied engineering and found similar factors negatively affected women’s persistence in engineering

    32. Climate? • 2007 study by the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association identified elements of women-friendly technical workplaces: • Senior leadership support • Equitable performance evaluation processes • Metrics focused on behavior and results • Recruitment practices that support equal representation of women • Advancement programs for high potential women • Career and work flexibility to retain talent

    33. Stemming the Tide Study • Recommendations for Business: • Create clear, visible and transparent paths toward advancement • Invest in providing substantial training and professional development • Communicate clear work goals and relevance of individual tasks to the big picture • Create a positive climate • Root out uncivil and undermining behaviors • Create supportive networks, including formal and informal mentoring • Offer work-life initiatives that support the family structure • Recommendations for Higher Education • Align curriculum with industry needs • Zero tolerance for incivility • Teach career management skills

    34. The Role of Title IX andother Gender-Equity Initiatives

    35. Title IX & STEM • Educational “choices” made by girls & women affect their ability to participate in the STEM workforce • Title IX opened all educational options to girls women • But the “choices” girls & women make to participate in STEM fields can be affected by the culture or environment of those fields • Title IX requires more than just “allowing” women to engage in particular fields – the law also requires educational institutions to ensure freedom from the biases (subtle or overt) that affect women’s participation in all fields.

    36. Other Gender-Equity Initiatives • Similarly, workplace “choices” made by women are made, in part, because of the workplace environments they face (2004 GAO study) • Civil rights laws prevent the active discrimination against women in the workplace (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act) • But civil rights laws do not necessarily impact facially neutral workplace policies or cultures, even if those policies or cultures differentially impact women • We must do more than merely “allow” women to engage in particular fields – we must identify and remedy those factors that negatively drive women away • And in doing so, will improve the workplace for men as well!

    37. Questions?