How come most women choose to opt out of engineering?

According to North American research, the female to male ratio in the study of engineering is much less and those who chose to go for it opt out of their career somewhere down the line.  This research, conducted by various experts from different universities suggested that women feel undermined by men, especially during group projects, and that makes the work unappealing as well as tiresome. 

Carroll Seron from the University of California at Irvine, Erin Cech from the University of Michigan, Susan Silby from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Brian Rubineau from McGill University, found that during work opportunities or even internships, women were assigned the simpler tasks while their male counterparts were handed challenging jobs.

Silbey went on record to say that in engineering, ‘gender made a big difference’. All of the four researchers asked their respective groups of students, the total number amounting to forty, to keep individual diaries in which they had to record everything on a bi-monthly basis. The result was around 3000 entries that were examined for a conclusive research on the subject matter.

A close analysis revealed that female students in engineering were subjected to earlier gender stereotypes and had to face the negative behavior of their male superiors during most activities conducted throughout heir educational term, particularly those involving team work. An example was also cited in the research, with Kimberly being the focal point of the observation. She was a student of engineering studies, and gave a description of her design class where two girls had been working on a robot building project. Kimberly said that while they worked on it, the boys came up and within a matter of minutes assigned them to smaller meaningless tasks. They took over the building of the robot and enjoyed themselves working on the machine, where else the girls complained about being left out.

Silbey notes, that contrary to previous assumptions, the gender gap in engineering does not stem from classroom behavior or the curriculum. In her statement, she said that engineering was a very successful education for most part and the teaching environment was also quite favorable.

One of her solutions to this problem included the conduction of seminars where various students’ experiences during internship were brought forth in an attempt to highlight gender issues women faced in engineering.