Women's History Month: Ada Lovelace Day 2010
For Finding Ada 2010, I would like to talk about Engineer Your Life.
It's a website that is geared towards girls, but anyone can visit and learn, and focuses on why a career in engineering is rewarding and fun. They have a list of 10 reasons why you will love your career in engineering.
Parents and those of you lucky enough to have an impact on young people's lives, please encourage them to visit this site. There is still such a stereotype that engineering is just about rockets and bridges. I blame years of physics and calculus classes for reinforcing this view. As we saw in Minnesota a few years ago, bridges are important. But we don't quite teach that in our schools. We also don't teach our children that engineering touches our lives and will shape the future. That is why we need to point them to the area about finding their dream job.
There is a stereotype, that bears fruit in real life, that girls are more likely to be drawn towards careers that clearly benefit humankind like social work, teaching and medicine.
That is why the finding your dream job section is awesome. Take computer science. This is one field where women are DECLINING in numbers around the country. It's quite a puzzle. But it becomes a bit clearer if we think about what we think about when we consider computer science as a career. Do we think of people programming computers? Creating new software for us to use? Tool makers?
They are, but as Engineer Your Life points out, computer scientists are designing new tools for doctors to use help detect cancer better. Ladies....Dreaming about a mammogram that doesn't squish your boobs into a pancake? That's a job for a computer engineer. Why not encourage your daughter to solve that problem?
There are a lot of ways that parents, teachers and everyone else can help encourage girls to dream of an engineering career. It will take all of us. Read the latest AAUW report - it's not super academic & full of jargon - to see how you can help....even the newborn girl in your life.