Happy belated International Women’s Day! Just a brief post on being a woman in engineering today because I was reading this article about how female and minority engineers are more likely to be unemployed. Let’s talk about the numbers real fast: The national unemployment rate right now is 9.6%. The unemployment rate for engineers who are Caucasian and male is 3.6%. If you’re a male and Hispanic or African American or American Indian, the unemployment rate doubles to approximately 7%. Asians are not considered to be minorities within engineering, but Asian women experience this same problem. The ratio of women being unemployed for family reasons compared to men is 5:1. Women are less likely to receive research grants, despite making gains within academia. Here’s the last statistic you need to hear about as demonstrated by the graph: 51% of those employed in engineering are white men. The next largest group? 18% are white women, less than half of the amount of white men employed as engineers.

Reasons For Not Working Among Scientists And Engineers, 2010

Reasons For Not Working Among Scientists And Engineers, 2010: NSF

I am a woman in engineering. Everyday, I walk into classes where I am one of five girls in a fifty person lecture. When I tell people I’m an engineer, I endure the quizzical looks without comment and laugh off any exclamations about girls in engineering. When I fill out engineering job applications, I proudly mark my gender for the minority reporting at the end. I received the Zonta Young Women in Public Affairs Award my senior year of high school because I majoring in a male-dominated field. I’m a proud member of SWE and a supporter of ToGetHerThere¬†which focus on encouraging more girls to pursue science and engineering. I believe this is extremely important.

How am I supposed to inspire girls to pursue engineering when I can’t guarantee they’ll have a job? Is all that I’ve put up and worked for to go to waste? I know it won’t, but it’s discouraging to see articles reporting such biases still exist and hear about women’s salaries compared to men and the glass ceiling.

I am so thankful for all the support friends and family have given me in order to continue to pursue this career. I will do my best to earn my place with engineering and support my fellow female engineers. Together, we can change these statistics and I look forward to the day we do this.

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