Today, in honor of the 11th annual “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Week,” I encourage you to do just that. Our country faces a critical need to increase the number of students entering engineering programs and professions if we are to continue to be a global leader in economic output, innovation and technology.
A recent study, performed by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, reported a staggering statistic: Only 11% of practicing engineers are women. The clear answer to this chronic shortage lies in encouraging more women to enter a profession in which they are currently outnumbered nearly nine to one.
And what better city to lead this effort than Milwaukee? Here, we have some of the best resources in the nation, including Marquette University’s state-of-the-art new facility for its College of Engineering, UWM’s anticipated construction of an engineering and research facility and, of course, the renowned Milwaukee School of Engineering, which boasts an impressive 95% placement rate for its graduates.
To effectively reach young women, we need to paint a more accurate picture of the rich professional life of an engineer and the many paths one can take with an engineering degree. Too often, people picture a career spent mulling over mathematical and scientific equations and a vast array of technical jargon. Yes, these are critical components of the profession, but it isn’t the end-all and be-all of a profession related to engineering – and it might not be the most appealing selling point to women.