Kaplan, Inc.

January 24, 2007 15:08 ET

Gender Gap Still Wide In Engineering, Says Kaplan

CHICAGO--(Collegiate Presswire - January 24, 2007) - With women comprising just 10 percent of an engineering workforce in critical need of new members, the industry is trying to find new ways to encourage young women to consider the field and the endless possibilities it offers, according to the new book 21 Things Every Future Engineer Should Know:A Practical Guide for Students and Parents ($24.95, Kaplan AEC Education, 2006).

Co-authors Pat Remick and Frank Cook note that girls leave high school just as academically prepared to pursue engineering as boys, but most choose not to do so.

"Even though women comprise half of the college population, they represent only 20 percent of engineering undergraduates and their number plummets to a dismal 10 percent in the workplace," says Remick."But the industry is taking notice and trying to boost female interest in the field -- from a young age -- to show that engineering is relevant and can change the world," she adds.

Events like National Engineers Week (February 18 - 24, www.eweek.org) include programs geared toward females, such as "Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day," during which more than 1 million girls and young women in grades K-12 will have the chance to be mentored by professionals across the country. Engineers Week activities also include the "Global Marathon For, By and About Women in Engineering" webcast and teleconference that seeks to heighten awareness about issues facing women in the field.

"National Engineers Week is a great time for students, especially young women, to not only learn about engineering, but to realize the tremendous amount of opportunities that a career in engineering offers," says Cook.

The topic of gender disparity in the industry is an important chapter in 21 Things Every Future Engineer Should Know..., where the authors and industry experts discuss such issues as:

-- Female students can view engineering as a geeky, male-dominated profession they mistakenly believe requires math skills far superior than they possess;

-- Female students tend to be more attracted to professions they view as helping others, a facet of engineering that needs more emphasis;

-- There are stereotypes that female students face, even from childhood, that might cause them to avoid engineering despite the many professional organizations available to support them in the field; and

-- Although there are concerns about workplace environment for women in the male-dominated industry, including a reluctance to make provisions for women with families, the situation continues to improve thanks to societal changes and an increasing number of role models.

"Engineering is a profession that doesn't care about your gender, your race or your background," adds Remick. "It's more about being intellectually curious, creative and having a desire to make the world a better place.

"There are more resources and support available to young women considering engineering than ever before," she says. "Engineering wants, and needs, more females. With the current shortage, there's never been a better time for young women - and young men - to choose this rewarding, exciting and well-compensated field."

Pat Remick is a longtime journalist who has worked for United Press International, CNN, various newsletters and other publications, and also co-authored the career-guidance book 21 Things Every Home Inspector Should Know. She is based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Frank Cook is the author of the books 21 Things I Wish My Broker Had Told Me and You're Not Buying That House are You? He co-authored with Pat Remick the career guidance book 21 Things Every Home Inspector Should Know.

21 Things Every Future Engineer Should Know ($24.95, 224 pages, paperback, ISBN: 141953548X) is available now in bookstores and at www.KaplanAEC.com, 1-866-263-1464.

About Kaplan AEC Education

Kaplan AEC Education is a division of Kaplan, Inc., a worldwide education services provider and a subsidiary of The Washington Post.Kaplan AEC Education helps emerging professionals prepare and sustain their careers in engineering, architecture, and contracting. Kaplan is the nation's leader in standardized test prep for nearly 70 years. For more information, please call 1-866-263-1464 or visit www.kaplanaeceducation.com.

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