Posted by: A. C. Cockerill | June 15, 2015

Techie Corner – 2015 – Post #10 – Women in Technology

Techie Corner – 2015 – Post #10 – Women in Technology

Why are so few women working in “hard-tech” (physics, EE, ME, etc.) jobs?

My two cents, but please share yours:

About 15-20% of the hard-tech positions are filled by women. This is not because of discrimination of any kind. The low numbers are because few women choose to major in the hard sciences and engineering in college, and degrees in these fields are needed to qualify for the hard-tech jobs.

What can be done to increase participation?

  • Increase the number of visible hard-tech women role models, especially in movies, on TV, and on the Internet.
  • Show women what is in hard-tech for them. (Androids (humanoid robots) are more interesting if they can organize your shoe closet for you while you’re on social media.)
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Responses

  1. I saw this yesterday and wanted to think more on my reply. Yes, absolutely more women role models. But do you think showing how hard tech can help with shoe organization while we’re on social media is a step forward for recognition of women of value? It’s not like we sell men on hard tech by relating to watching sports while their beer is inventoried. Although…
    Having women scientist who are front and center instead of being the nurturing hand wringing sidekick/wallpaper would be a great advantage if we could get Hollywood to grow some in their approach.

    • My over-the-top example with the shoe organization was definitely offered tongue in check, Mona. But I did want to drive home the following point. Those trying to show women how fascinating hard-tech can be must think about what interests these women. I’ve attended science fairs and found all of the applications targeted for men. I chose to be a physicist in spite of these fairs, not because of them. And you’re right about Hollywood. 🙂 Cheers, Ashley

      • Gotcha…one of my favorite people is a physicist in Georgia but when she’s not neck deep in research she’s a delightful hippie…notice I didn’t say former!
        I always feel sorry for the people who don’t ‘get’ applied science/math/art. They can’t look around and see a box decorated with a company logo as something more than decorated cardboard. There’s the art, of course. Also the math of where and how to cut that box so it folds and all the artwork meets in the right place. The science of the inks to make that artwork. A box is a wonder of merging abilities…and it’s also a dynamite business since companies need a constant supply.
        I didn’t come to ‘adult’ jobs until I was in my mid thirties. Until then I groomed dogs, waited tables, cleaned stalls. So for me it was a miracle of discovery to learn about inventory and how a major project can be totally stalled due to the wrong fastener

      • Every job and topic is interesting, Mona. All that is required is digging a little deeper, below the surface. Cheers, Ashley


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