It’s Engineers Week, and DiscoverE — formerly the National Engineers Week Foundation — is celebrating women in engineering today with Girl Day 2017, a campaign to introduce girls to the world of engineering.
According to a report released this month by Center for Energy Workforce Development, called Attracting and Retaining Women Engineers in the Energy Industry, 15.1 percent of the engineering workforce are women. For energy-related occupations, women make up 12.5 percent of electrical and electronics engineers, 8.3 percent of mechanical engineers and 12.6 percent of civil engineers.
The report said that the National Science Foundation found that among the reasons women do not either pursue or complete engineering degrees are:
- Lack of female engineering role models
- Misconceptions of what it is like to be an engineer
- Lack of confidence
According to the report, encouraging girls to enter engineering education programs, and eventually engineering fields, should begin with career awareness efforts beginning in middle school.
Some tools that can help expose girls to engineering careers include:
- iCAN Engineering Awareness Program for Girls: Created by Alabama Power, iCAN creates a fun, girls-only environment for learning while sparking an interest in engineering. The program’s primary goal is to empower and encourage young women through focusing on the rewards and benefits of being an engineer.
- Department of Energy’s Girls of Energy book: Comprised of lesson plans, activities, and an engaging website, Girls of Energy highlights the importance of energy and how it improves the lives of our friends, neighbors and family members.