Engineering: It’s Not Just for Men

By Darby Buscemi, Helen Foster, Nicole Ramirez, and Vanessa Leija

When it comes to engineering, there’s a lot to talk about, but there is one thing most people will try to avoid. Only 13% of engineers and 18.4% of engineering bachelor degrees are awarded to women, which is definitely a problem. Women are widely underrepresented in engineering, and at Ann Richards, we want to fix that problem. There are many types and aspects of engineering that most girls don’t know about, and sometimes don’t even realize are engineering in the first place. The engineering pathway at our school, as well as the middle school PLTW classes, are designed to expose girls to what it means to design, create, and engineer.

We asked some of the 10th grade engineering girls about their opinions on the amount of women in engineering and what their favorite things about the pathway are. When we asked why they chose engineering, they responded that they enjoy designing things that come from their imagination and being able to create them in real life. Emma Foster said that she enjoys finding out how things work and why they were designed the way they are, which is a big part of all things engineering. Meredith Oldham included that she had a lot of fun in middle school PLTW, and the engineering pathway was that and more. The design, building, and hands on work is one of the main reasons many girls decide to go into engineering. Almost all the girls we interviewed said that their favorite part of engineering was seeing the final product and getting a sense of accomplishment from knowing that what they imagined, they were able to create themselves.

Unfortunately, there aren’t as many women as there should be or there can be, and the 10th graders said this is probably due to a pre existing stereotype for it to be a man’s job, and that women do not have as much exposure to engineering and what it actually means to be an engineer. If we want to fix this, we have to take action.

Meredith said that, “by creating all girls schools with STEM programs (like our school) I think we’re trying to do that. However it really boils down to stereotypes that girls discover at very young ages, and a major way to fix that I think is by making women engineers role models for these younger girls.”

We believe that engineering is a great career to pursue, because there are so many different paths you can go down and so many things you can do that rely on creativity and the ability to think outside of the box. From software to aerospace to product design, you can do just about anything. Almost everything you use had an engineer involved, even things like paper, bridges, and your computer mouse.

If you don’t already know we, the seventh graders, are working on the outdoor space for the trailer that is being converted into a teachers’ lounge. This means figuring out what plants will work well, how we will do the layout, considering what teachers and 10th graders want, and what can benefit the Ann Richards community. You may not realize it at first, but these are part of engineering as well. Figuring out what works and what your clients want is important, and applies to almost all professions, including engineering.

Currently, we’re working on choosing the plants for our garden and how we’re going to lay them out. We have already taken all our measurements, so the next step would be deciding on what plants and objects we want, then putting it all in Google Sketchup, where we can create a model of our area as an example of what it’ll look like when we’re done. Thanks for reading, and we hope you all have a super, fantastic, awesome, splendid, amazing day!

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21 comments

  1. I agree with y’all and the 10th graders. Women are being underrepresented when it comes to engineering. Stereotypical, cutting wood and painting a wall is a mans job. I am proud that we have PLTW and are designing lawn ornaments which includes painting, using the saw, measurements, etc. Many girls love engineering, but some don’t mention it because they are afraid to be judged. If a women has a passion for engineering, they shouldn’t let anyone or anything stop them from pro-cuing their dream because at the end, those people are not there. You never know, the next big creation/invention may be designed by a women.

  2. Wow, you did a great job on your blog post, and it’s great that you can tell the world about how women are underrepresented when it comes to engineering. It’s quite true that we need to remove the stereotype that men are the only engineers/scientists, and I think through building other schools like ours, we can inspire other girls to become engineers, and have input into our society, which engineering is a HUGE part of.

  3. Elyssa J. Castillo · · Reply

    That is so true and I like your spirit on the whole project and it’s true girls can do anything guy’s can do.

  4. Karla Jaramillo · · Reply

    Uh Girls Yes, Yes! i agree with you all the way, and i can tell you know that engineering is not only for guys but it also is for girls and they way, and when you say “We can take action”.

  5. Prisila Samaniego · · Reply

    This is true. People put labels on jobs according to gender, which is wrong. Society thinks women are weak and can’t handle “man jobs” but, this isn’t true mostly because there is no such thing as a man job. A women is capable to do whatever a man can do, but we don’t try because we’re afraid to be put down because of society’s label on us. We also believe everything that is said about women so we just don’t try which makes me sad.

  6. Sandy Sanchez · · Reply

    Yes I agree with you guys. And great job with your post. I completely agree with you guys when you said…… “If we want to fix this, we have to take action.”
    I think that we do need to be more open to engineering and like you said…. take action. It’s important that we need more courses about engineering so girls will have more background with it. So great job you people! And girls are 10 times more important than guys!

  7. Zoe Taulli · · Reply

    I really enjoyed your blog post. I agree that there is a problem engineering because of the small number of women in the field. I think our school is a great way to break the stereotype that it is a mans job. What the 10th graders said about role models was really cool and I hope that they become the future role models for the students at this school.

  8. I really like your blog Title it was really motivated by it and I like the way you were so descriptive in your blog.

  9. I absolutely love your blog post. It is very inspirational and I can definitely relate to the stereotypes women face every day. I agree that by having an all girls like Ann Richards that offers a strong STEM program help increase the number of female engineers and break the stereotype. I love how you’ve brought this problem to light and I do agree that women shouldn’t feel as if engineering is off limits to them. Overall I agree with your post and that it is time to break the stereotype.

  10. Anjelica Arias · · Reply

    You guys did a really good job on your blog post, I like how you guys interviewed the tenth graders about what they feel about engineering.

  11. I love how you’re so excited about the project and how you gave statistics in the beginning. I also like how you quoted people, it really added to the post.

  12. Celeste G · · Reply

    I agree so much with you guys. Women, there i’sent many engineering. We are very powerful and smart and it is sad that such a little percentage are engineers. We can fix this, 10th graders are right stereotyping still exists and we have to change that and as ARS girls we are trained and skilled to do it. Meredith is right stem, pltw and many more engineering programs are helping women. Engineering is a great career to follow. Good job guys this is a really good blog post

  13. I agree with you 10th graders. I thought the script was really good and this script describes more the project.

  14. I think that it is important to let girls figure out for themselves whether not they want to be an engineer not by what other people think. I think that it was important that you mention stereotyping because it’s usually because of girls not pursuing engineering. This project just shows that girls are as good as boys or even better at engineering then some boys and that we have the power to do what ever we want.

  15. I think this is a very important topic. Women are very under-represented in many fields and because of this you don’t get creative ideas that benefit both genders. I love how you mention how this project, and entire school is working to erase the stereotype between a man’s and woman’s job.

  16. I agree with you, jobs should not have labels like “this is a mans job”. That’s just not right, you can’t say that girls can’t do that if it a guys job. I really like how y’all said that you want to change; you want more woman engineer’s. I also liked how y’all interviewed the 10th graders and asked them what like the most about engineering. You did a really good job on your blog post!!

  17. I agree with y’all and the 10th graders. Women are being underrepresented when it comes to engineering. Stereotypical, cutting wood and painting a wall is a mans job. I am proud that we have PLTW and are designing lawn ornaments which includes painting, using the saw, measurements, etc. Many girls love engineering, but some don’t mention it because they are afraid to be judged. If a women has a passion for engineering, they shouldn’t let anyone or anything stop them from pro-cuing their dream because at the end, those people are not there. You never know, the next big creation/invention may be designed by a women.

  18. I agree with you because you talk about how everyone is equal and women should be able to engineer just as much as men.

  19. I really enjoyed this because it’s true that a lot of people think that engineering is only for men when they don’t notice about the amazing things women can do and here at the AnnRichards school we are trying to fix that.

  20. _Yenifer_ · · Reply

    YES!! Just because certain jobs require the muscle or brain, doesn’t mean that this is a surefire sign that we need to give the job to men. Uh-No! Not in my house! Women are capable of what men can do, sometimes, even higher. I think it’s wrong to put labels on jobs. You never know what opportunities companies (etc) can miss out on. The next brilliant idea can come from a woman. If you love something (architecture? engineering? math?) so much, be proud, tell someone, you can be on your way to becoming the next biggest & greatest ______ ever! Just do it! That’s what Nike said .. Everything is possible if you put your mind to it. Sometimes you may be surprised to how much you can do. It scares you so much, that you literally fall out of your chair. Just do it!

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