- why there aren't that many women majoring in engineering (10% in my particular specialization).
- why women who majored in engineering leave their engineering careers.
I rarely think about engineering and technology in my free time, even though I am mentally competent at it. While I like using technology like computers, I rarely think about the guts of the equipment I'm using and how it works. I don't read technical articles/blogs, tinker with machines, or watch TV shows like How It's Made. I am more interested in crocheting and knitting, reading fiction books, blogging, and hanging out with friends.
The most successful careers are ones that match your passions in life, and I think women leave engineering because it does not align with their personal interests. (In fact, 3 female engineers I worked with all left to go into teaching.) Some people will say, "That's because girls are raised to play with dolls, not cars." Well, I was given access to both LEGOs and My Little Ponies when I was a kid, but even when I played with LEGOs, I built houses with kitchens and bedrooms, instead of robots and jets like my brother LDK.
I went into engineering originally because I was good at math and science in school, and therefore everyone around me encouraged me to enter engineering as a stable career that fit my strengths. Then I found out that I don't really care about developing and designing new technology products; I was just good at taking tests. After college, I did tech support for test and measurement systems and then moved into business management of industrial automation products. Nowadays, I work for a marketing firm that targets engineering and science companies, but I wouldn't say I'm in the engineering field anymore. I like working with engineers because I get them and understand what they're trying to do, but I'm just not naturally drawn to technical details like they are. ::shrug:: For women who are true techies, power to them. For women who aren't, why try to force them into a career just to bump the percentage numbers?
P.S. I always wanted to be a vet, but my mom told me in 4th grade that it was a bad idea because every little girl wants to be a vet so it's a really competitive field where I'd only get a job treating livestock. Click here to see if she was right.