Women in Computing
Pale and Male: 19th Century Design
in a 21st Century World
According to the author there are many reasons for pushing to increase the representation of women in the field of engineering; however the selfish reason is the most compelling one. As he writes this article he quickly discovers that his colleague had already made this point far better than he could ever have. In the issue of The Bridge Journal, Bill Wolf expressed his feeling. He stated that engineering is a very creative profession, and as in any creative profession, what comes out is a function of the life experiences of the people who do it. He also thinks that we limit the set of life experiences that are applied, and as a result, we pay an opportunity cost. He also goes to say that every time people try to approach an engineering problem with a pale, male design team you are not likely to find the best solution. In my opinion he has explained it very well. You need a variety of minds, and different views to solve a problem and solve it right. Engineering solutions are enriched and enhanced by the diversity of the engineering teams that create the solutions. When you have a non-diverse engineering workforce that leads to diminished, impoverished engineering solutions.
Professor Leah Jamieson published the UC Davis Study in her article which included the five principal factors that cause women to leave, or become discouraged with engineering. They are: isolation, inability to see the relevance of highly theoretical basic courses, negative experiences in laboratory courses, classroom climate, and lack of role models. All of these things are very true and since we know what is stopping women from entering this field we should do something about it. If you know the cause of the problem then finding a solution should not be difficult. The future of this field and the quality of the solutions depends on it.