Christian Engineering Education Conference
Despite small increases in the percentages of women students over the last
twenty years, women are still significantly under-represented in engineering.
In other professions, for example medicine and law, the number of female students
has increased to the point where it equals the number of males. In engineering,
the percentage of female students entering the field has leveled off at something
less than 20%. This paper will address the extent to which women are under-represented
in various engineering disciplines both nationally and at Christian colleges.
Three reasons why Christians should be concerned about this problem will be
discussed. The first is the Christian concept of vocation, which views all Christians
(male and female) as being called to serve our neighbors with the gifts God
has given us. There is little evidence that women lack the gifts necessary to
be good engineers. Biblical support can be provided for women having to freedom
to use those gifts in a professional calling. The second reason includes fairness
of opportunity for women to participate in a challenging and lucrative profession.
The third reason is the requirement for enough engineers to keep our society
functioning. Several reasons for the under-representation of females in engineering
will be explored in order to identify the barriers which prevent young women
from choosing engineering as a career and from completing an undergraduate engineering
degree. These barriers appear very early in the educational experience of young
girls and extend through college and into industry. The paper will present various
ways to overcome these barriers in order to recruit and retain more female engineering
students. These will include suggestions for individuals, for churches, and
for educational institutions which will allow the gifts of creativity, analytical
ability, and problem solving (among others) bestowed by God on the female half
of the population to be better used for promotion of his kingdom here on earth.
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