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WHERE WE ARE AND WHERE WE NEED TO GO

BY
ETTA WHARTON
ETTA WHARTON CONSULTING

PRODUCED FOR, AND ABRIDGED BY

WOMEN INTO ENGINEERING:


A PARTNERS FOR CHANGE PROJECT
OF

PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERS OF ONTARIO


NSERC/NORTEL NETWORKS JOINT CHAIR FOR WOMEN IN SCIENCE AND
ENGINEERING IN ONTARIO
ONTARIO WOMEN'S DIRECTORATE

STEERING COMMITTEE:
SARAH SHORTREED, P.ENG., PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERS ONTARIO
JEAN SURRY, P.ENG., PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERS ONTARIO
MONIQUE FRIZE, P.ENG, NSERC ONTARIO CHAIR
ANN HOLMES, ONTARIO WOMEN'S DIRECTORATE
JANE LARIMER, ONTARIO WOMEN'S DIRECTORATE
CONTENTS

1.0 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY................................................................................................1


2.0 BACKGROUND..............................................................................................................2
2.1 THE FIRST PHASE – OBJECTIVE AND SCOPE......................................................................3
3.0 PROCEDURES..............................................................................................................3
3.1 HOW THE STUDY WAS CARRIED OUT................................................................................3
3.2 LITERATURE AND RESOURCES..........................................................................................3
3.3 COLLECTION OF INFORMATION AT FACULTIES OF ENGINEERING..............................................5
3.3.1 INTERVIEWS OF DEANS, FACULTY AND STAFF...........................................................5
3.3.2 FOCUS GROUPS OF STUDENTS.............................................................................6
4.0 FINDINGS......................................................................................................................6
4.1 AN ISSUE OF COMPLEX INTERCONNECTIONS WHICH NEEDS LONG TERM COMMITMENT.................6
4.2 INTERVENTION PROGRAMS AND THE STATE OF STRATEGY IN ONTARIO......................................7
4.3 WHERE WE ARE.........................................................................................................8
4.3.1 STATE OF ENROLLMENT.......................................................................................8
4.3.2 RETENTION OF WOMEN STUDENTS .......................................................................9
4.3.3 AD-HOC NATURE OF RESOURCES ADDRESSING THE ISSUE..........................................9
4.3.4 INVOLVEMENT IN SCIENCE OUTREACH ACTIVITIES......................................................10
4.3.5 VIEWS OF WHERE THE PROBLEM LIES....................................................................10
4.3.6 LEADERSHIP......................................................................................................11
4.4 WHAT HAS MADE A DIFFERENCE.....................................................................................11
4.4.1 IMPROVED CLIMATE..11
4.4.2 EFFECTIVENESS OF SCIENCE OUTREACH ACTIVITIES...................................................11
4.4.3 SOURCES OF POSITIVE INFLUENCES.......................................................................12
4.4.4 A HOPEFUL MODEL FOR MATURE STUDENTS AND OTHERS ........................................12
5.0 MAJOR ISSUES THAT DEFINE THE PROBLEM AND GUIDE FURTHER ACTION....12
5.1 MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT THE POOL..................................................................................12
5.2 WHEN IS THE RIGHT TIME TO INTERVENE...........................................................................13
5.3 THE IMAGE OF ENGINEERING THROUGH THE EYES OF WOMEN................................................14
5.4 DISPROPORTIONATE SELECTION OF CERTAIN DISCIPLINES BY WOMEN.......................................15
5.5 DELIVERING WOMEN INTO ENGINEERING INITIATIVES THROUGH GOOD-WILL ..............................16
5.6 MAKING ENGINEERING EDUCATION A POSSIBILITY FOR A BROADER RANGE OF WOMEN.................17
5.7 TAKING A NEW LOOK AT A MORE INCLUSIVE ENGINEERING EDUCATION.....................................18
5.8 UNCONSCIOUS COLLUSION – WOMEN IN UNDERGRADUATE ENGINEERING CULTURE.....................19
6.0 DEVELOPING AN INTERVENTION FRAMEWORK FOR THE PARTNERSHIP...........21
7.0 RECOMMENDATIONS..................................................................................................22
APPENDIX A: ENROLLMENT INFORMATION...................................................................23
APPENDIX B: USEFUL WEB SITES — WOMEN IN ENGINEERING.................................25
APPENDIX C: BIBLIOGRAPHIES ON WOMEN IN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING..........29
APPENDIX D: ANNOTATIONS OF PAPERS
D.1 STATISTICS.................................................................................................................31
D.2 POLICY ISSUES ...........................................................................................................33
D.3 CAREER CHOICES OF GIRLS...........................................................................................40
D.4 RECRUITMENT PROGRAMS .............................................................................................44
D.5 CLIMATE AND BARRIERS IN ENGINEERING FACULTIES............................................................50
D.6 UNDERGRADUATE ENGINEERING EDUCATION ......................................................................55
D.7 UNDERGRADUATE RETENTION PROGRAMS..........................................................................60
D.8 WOMEN IN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING — RELATED RESEARCH............................................62
APPENDIX E: A SHORT LIST OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING RESOURCES...............66
THE VIEWS EXPRESSED HEREIN ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR AND DO NOT NECESSARILY
REFLECT THOSE OF PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERS ONTARIO, THE NSERC/NORTEL
NETWORKS JOINT CHAIR FOR WOMEN IN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING (ONTARIO),
THE ONTARIO WOMEN’S DIRECTORATE, THE MINISTER RESPONSIBLE FOR WOMEN’S
ISSUES OR THE GOVERNMENT OF ONTARIO.
WHERE WE ARE AND WHERE WE NEED TO GO:
PHASE I PROJECT REPORT FOR THE
WOMEN INTO ENGINEERING PROJECT

1.0 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY


The Ontario Women's Directorate, the Professional Engineers Ontario, and the NSERC/
Nortel Networks Joint Chair for Women in Science and Engineering in Ontario have
formed a Partnership to address their mutual concern about stagnating levels of
enrollment of women in undergraduate engineering education. Their objective is to
determine what is needed and to take appropriate actions to increase that enrollment.

This report documents the first phase of that work. It reviews the literature and provides
an annotated bibliography and lists of resources for future reference. It also reports on
the findings of interviews with Deans, faculty and staff and focus groups of women
engineering students that took place in twelve of the thirteen engineering faculties in
Ontario.

Many universities have been or are involved in outreach programs to lower levels of
education aimed at encouraging girls to study science and engineering. Science or science
and engineering camps are the most structured and dependably funded of such initiatives,
though with a single exception, they are not directed exclusively at girls. There are a few
examples of funded positions, usually on a part-time basis, with responsibilities for
women in engineering issues but most such activities depend on volunteer efforts.

Many of the findings from the interview portion of the study are consistent with findings
by others described in the literature. A number that significantly inform the design of an
intervention framework for the Partnership and the specific recommended actions are
described and analyzed in detail in the report.

The findings point to the need for both long-term actions aimed at structural change and
shorter-term projects that can make an impact and fill identified gaps.

Recommendations for possible action were presented to the Partnership.

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2.0 BACKGROUND
There are thirteen universities with engineering faculties in Ontario. For the last twenty
years the enrollment of women in undergraduate engineering courses has been increasing
slowly but steadily. There is considerable variation among schools and enrollment of
women currently stands at between 10 and 33% at the various Ontario universities. Frize1
shows the overall enrollment for Ontario in 1998 at around 21% and for Canada at
19.5%. For comparison purposes in 1997 women were 19% of total engineering
undergraduate enrollment in the U.S.2 and 14% of the total in Great Britain as reported by
the British Council.

There is also variation among the various engineering disciplines. Chemical engineering
is the most popular option chosen by women and depending on the school, one-third to
one-half of all chemical engineering students are women. Environmental engineering,
whether as a separate discipline or as an option in a civil or other program, also tends to
attract a disproportionate number of women as do forms of engineering related to biology
and medicine. Mechanical, electrical, and computer-related disciplines attract a
disproportionately low number of women and enrollment in these disciplines can be 10%
or lower.

This relatively low level of enrollment of women in engineering is occurring at the same
time as the overall enrollment of women in all undergraduate university programs is
about 52% of the total. In addition all the other major professional faculties such as law,
medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and business have largely achieved equity in enrollment
of women and men. In recent years the rate of increase of enrollment of women in
engineering seems to be leveling off. From 1999 to 2000 there was a drop in the percent
of women entering first year engineering at several Ontario universities.

In spite of the increases of the last twenty years Gadalla3 points out “that the likelihood
that a woman university student will major in engineering is still less than one fifth that
of a man”.

The tables in Appendix A show the engineering enrollment in Ontario universities for
1999 and 2000 and the enrollment of women. Most of these figures have been supplied
by the Council of Ontario Deans of Engineering (CODE).

To address their concerns about stagnating enrollments of women in undergraduate


engineering programs, the Ontario Women's Directorate (OWD), the Professional
Engineers Ontario (PEO), and the NSERC/Nortel Networks Joint Chair for Women in
Science and Engineering in Ontario (NSERC Chair) formed a Partnership aimed at taking
actions to increase this enrollment. The Partnership wanted to know what actions were
currently being taken to recruit and retain women, to identify any successful programs
and identify opportunities where their involvement might make a difference in the future.
1
Frize, M. National Statistics on Women in Engineering, available from her website.
http://www.carleton.ca/wise/natstats.ht
2
Women, Minorities and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering -2000. National Science
Foundation Publication, Washington, D.C.
3
Gadalla, T.M. Pattern of Women's Enrollment in University Mathematics, Engineering and Computer
Science in Canada, 1971-1995. Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/University of Toronto.

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They foresaw carrying out a multi-year project consisting of a number of phases. This
document reports on the first phase of this project.

2.1 THE FIRST PHASE – OBJECTIVE AND SCOPE


The purpose of the first phase of the project was to evaluate the current situation,
establish the requirements, and make recommendations to the Partnership for future
actions and interventions. The focus of the Partnership is primarily on what can be done
at the university level in Ontario and this defined the scope of the project. However,
because of the complex interconnections that affect the decisions of young women to
study engineering, what happens at the universities cannot be viewed in isolation. As a
result, a number of issues outside the universities that arose through the study were
identified and were factored into some of the recommendations.

3.0 PROCEDURES
3.1 HOW THE STUDY WAS CARRIED OUT
This phase consisted of two main threads. The first was to review current literature on
women in engineering and to identify resources available on the topic for use in
subsequent stages of the project. The second was to gather information about what was
happening in Ontario universities through site visits, interviews, and focus groups of
women engineering students. By examining the converging themes and issues that
emerged fairly clearly and consistently from these sources, I identified areas where
intervention would be useful and formulated recommendations for possible future action.

3.2 LITERATURE AND RESOURCES


Most of the literature review and resource search was carried out using the Internet, a
process that has the contradiction of being both simple and virtually instantaneous and
also complex and time-consuming. The content on this subject has grown enormously in
the last few years. Search engine queries for such keywords as 'women in engineering'
produced thousands of responses and the challenge has been to find valuable and credible
content. In general, I limited myself to materials from sites such as universities,
government agencies, research institutes, academic journals and established engineering
related associations such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE),
and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). The findings of the
literature and resource review are documented in this report as follows.

a) Useful Web Sites - Women in Engineering (Appendix B)

Appendix B includes a list of almost seventy Web sites that have


substantial content on the topic of women in engineering and are therefore
useful to anyone wanting to explore this topic further. By substantial
content, I mean that they include content such as papers, articles, lists of
materials and usually links to other Web sites on similar topics. American
sites dominate the list. There are also a fair number of Canadian sites and
a few from Great Britain and Australia. There are many other sites that are
not as extensive but may describe a single program or organization. For
example, the sites of a number of American universities with women in

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engineering initiatives are listed because they meet the criteria above.
Many other American universities with women in engineering programs
and Web sites were not included because their content is very limited, i.e.
usually a description of their specific program.

b) Bibliographies on Women in Science and Engineering (Appendix C)

A number of bibliographies listing papers, books and resources on issues


connected with this study are now available on-line and are listed in
Appendix C for those who may want to explore specific topics in greater
depth.

c) Annotation of Selected Literature on Women in Engineering Topics (Appendix D)

Appendix D contains lists of annotated papers that describe research,


programs, policy and viewpoints on a number of topics related to women in
engineering. These have been collected under the following headings:
Statistics; Policy Issues; Career Choices of Girls; Recruitment Programs;
Climate and Barriers in Engineering Faculties; Undergraduate Engineering
Education; Undergraduate Retention Programs; and Women in Science and
Engineering — Related Research. I annotated mostly fairly recent work, i.e.
generally from the 1990's, as earlier works have often been mentioned before
as in the bibliography of the Chairs for Women in Science and Engineering.
The categories reflect those of particular relevance to understanding the factors
that effect the enrollment of women in engineering, those that describe
programs and initiatives which have attempted to increase that enrollment, and
those that identify or address outstanding issues of systemic discrimination.
Canadian research and resources were specifically sought and are included.
However, many American works are also cited as much of the research on
certain topics (for example, gendered pedagogy in engineering education) is
currently being done in the U.S. The annotations are intended to describe the
content and conclusions of the work to the level where it should be clear to the
reader whether the specific work is relevant to their area of interest.

This literature review has been thorough and the works included are relevant to the
objectives of the project but it is not a complete documentation of all work on
women in engineering, especially historically. Such an endeavor was outside the
scope and time allotment of the project. For those using this review who want to
explore a specific topic in greater depth, it should be noted that many of the
annotated papers, particularly the scholarly ones, contain bibliographies of their own.

d) A Short List of Education and Training Resources (Appendix E)

Over time materials and tools, including many videos, have been created and
used to support local programs aimed at encouraging girls to study science or
engineering and to provide role models. These can become dated or use of
them lapse as specific initiatives wind down. Appendix E includes a list of

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resources that are still available and are fairly recent. In addition to video and
CD-ROM material about engineering for girls, it lists a number of resources
on identifying and dealing with gender issues in the engineering classroom
intended for the use of faculty and instructors. The time available and the
scope of the project limited the extent of this list. Additional resources are
listed in this appendix under the How Hard Can It Be bibliography by the
Ontario Women's Directorate (http://www.mczcr.gov.on.ca/owd under the
resources section) and in the More than Just Numbers report listed in
Appendix D (available at http://www.carleton.ca/wise/first.htm).

3.3 COLLECTION OF INFORMATION AT FACULTIES OF ENGINEERING


3.3.1 INTERVIEWS OF DEANS, FACULTY AND STAFF
All faculties of engineering in Ontario were contacted with a request for interviews.
Information was gathered in person at twelve of the thirteen Ontario universities with
engineering faculties.

I interviewed the Deans of Engineering at Carleton University, Lakehead University,


Queen's University, the Royal Military College (RMC), the University of Ottawa, the
University of Toronto and a former Dean from the University of Western Ontario.

At Carleton, Guelph, Lakehead, McMaster, Queen's, Ryerson, and the universities of


Ottawa, Toronto, Waterloo and Windsor, I interviewed faculty or staff who either had
specific responsibilities with regards to women in engineering or who had become
involved in initiatives as a result of personal interest or commitment. At the University of
Toronto I also met with departmental and faculty liaison staff who have responsibilities
for recruitment.

I met with groups of women faculty members at Carleton, Queen's, the University of
Waterloo and the University of Western Ontario.

The following questions formed the basis of these interviews though not all were
applicable in every situation and the interview process was adapted accordingly.

1. Does the university have special programs aimed at recruiting, counseling and
retaining women into its engineering programs?

2. If so, what are they and what is your assessment of how useful and successful
they have been?

3. How are such programs managed and who is responsible for them?

4. What are the reactions of faculty and students to these initiatives?

5. From your experiences, are there other things that could and should be done
(either here, or more generally) that would help to increase the participation rate
of women in engineering programs?

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6. Are certain engineering disciplines more attractive to women, and if so, why?

7. Are there any continuing concerns about the climate for women in
engineering at the university level?

8. Are there issues with respect to the way engineering has been traditionally
taught that may affect the participation or outcomes for women in engineering?

3.3.2 FOCUS GROUPS OF STUDENTS


I held focus groups with women engineering students at Carleton, Guelph,
Lakehead, McMaster, Queen's, RMC, Toronto, Waterloo, Western Ontario and
Windsor. Overall, these included students from each year of undergraduate
engineering studies and covered a broad range of engineering disciplines
including both those that have high levels and low levels of enrollment of women.
A few graduate students also participated in the focus groups. At Queen's I also
held one focus group of women students, mostly enrolled in Health Sciences, who
had the qualifications to enter engineering but had chosen another course of study.
In all, about 125 women students participated in these focus groups. The
following questions formed the template for all the focus groups of women
engineering students.

1. How and why did you choose to study engineering at university?

2. Was your choice influenced by any people or events? What were they?

3. How did you select the engineering discipline that you are studying?

4. Did the number of women in the program and the university’s reputation on this issue
affect you choice of university?

5. Should universities be doing special recruitment and retention programs for women?

6. What kind of programs would you like to see?

7. Do women have different needs than men in an engineering program? If so, what are
they?

8. What has been your experience as a woman in an engineering program?

4.0 FINDINGS
4.1 AN ISSUE OF COMPLEX INTERCONNECTIONS WHICH NEEDS LONG
TERM COMMITMENT TO CHANGE
Increasing the enrollment of women in engineering to the point of a sustainable “critical
mass” (usually defined as 35 - 40%) is a long-term societal change process that ultimately
requires not only initiatives and programs but also structural reform. The factors
influencing that enrollment result from history, societal norms, the traditional culture of

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engineering, and wide-spread ignorance of what engineers do and how engineering
contributes to our society. Many institutions and organizations are both part of the
problem and need to be part of the solution: all levels of education policy makers; all
levels of schooling; teachers at all levels; professional organizations both of engineers
and others; advocates; parents; and various media.

I recognize that the Partnership alone cannot address and resolve all the issues that
became evident during this study. However, I will document them in this report for the
record and to possibly guide future work.

4.2 INTERVENTION PROGRAMS AND THE STATE OF STRATEGY IN ONTARIO


Chubin and Malcom4 developed a useful model for the evolution of intervention
programs. It takes the form of a triangle with individual projects on a group by group
basis at the bottom, moving upward to formal coordination of discrete projects, to a
centre for co-ordination of resources and efforts, with structural reform at the apex. To
move towards structural reform requires movement from individual commitment to
institutional commitment and from soft money or volunteers to hard money. See Figure 1
below.

Institutional Hard
commitment money

Structural
reform

Centre for
co-ordination of
resources and efforts

Formal coordination
of discrete projects

Department / School
based efforts
Informal
coordination
Individual Soft money
Isolated projects
commitment or volunteers

Figure 1
Model for the Evolution of Intervention Programs
Source: Chubin & Malcom, 1996

4
Chubin, D.E. & Malcom, S.M. (1996), Policies to Promote Women in Science. In C.-S. Davis, A.S.
Ginorio, C.S. Hollenshead, B.B. Lazarus, P.M. Rayman & Associates (Eds.), The equity equation:
Fostering the advancement of women in the sciences, mathematics, and engineering (pp. 1-28). San
Francisco: Jossey Bass.

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Trying to map the Ontario situation with regards to women in engineering shows that
initiatives currently under way fall into different categories but mostly towards the
bottom of the triangle, which is categorized by individual projects on a group by group
basis with some informal coordination within individual institutions. In some areas there
is more formal co-ordination. Science and engineering camps are an example of this level
of co-ordination. There is some formal co-ordination of science and engineering camps
through Actua, the Canadian umbrella organization for such activities. The camps,
however, are only one discrete aspect of the issue and are not exclusively directed at
women or at engineering.

The NSERC Chair concept addresses the next level to a degree. There is a “Centre” for
co-ordination but predominately it provides information and support rather than co-
ordination of regional resources and efforts. The NSERC Chairs conduct individual
projects and research as well. Looking up the sides of the triangle both hard money (at
least for a period of time) and institutional commitment are part of the NSERC Chair
initiative. Other examples of co-ordination include the PEO Future Engineers Initiative
which distributes about $20,000 annually to projects that “directly encourage women to
enter engineering careers”, money that goes almost exclusively to university groups. The
Canadian Engineering Memorial Foundation also has annual awards, the Engineering
Student Project Awards, for operational projects that encourage female high school
students to continue studies in math and science or demonstrate that engineering is a
viable career option for women.

Elsewhere most initiatives are mostly based on soft or short-term (even one-off) infusions
of small amounts of money, a lot of volunteer effort and the commitment of individuals.

At the broad bottom base of the triangle, a large number of individual projects have been
done or are being done by groups such as university liaison officers, women students and
engineering associations. Most projects are forms of outreach, trying to inform girls (or
students in general) about engineering, and showing it as an attractive course of study and
career for them. These do have a positive effect on enrollment. Focus group participants
specifically mentioned a number of such efforts as having influenced their decision to
study engineering. However, these initiatives are often dependent on volunteer efforts.
This means the initiatives wax and wane depending on the commitment and time of
individuals, particularly when these are students who move on after a few years. Many
mentoring programs are tried, live a while and then tend to fade away for this reason.
While volunteers can and do make an effective individual contribution to mentoring
programs, they cannot be expected to effectively plan, manage, and co-ordinate other
volunteers. See Anderson5 for an interesting perspective on this.

4.3 WHERE WE ARE


4.3.1 STATE OF ENROLLMENT
The enrollment data for women in engineering faculties for the past two years, as
provided by CODE, is given in Appendix A. It is disappointing to see that a number of
schools, including some of the largest and those with higher relative levels of enrollment,

5
Anderson, I.J.T., College Caretaker: Female Engineering Students as Volunteer Recruiters, Presented at
the 8th CCWEST Conference, July 6-8, 2000. St. John's, Newfoundland.

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have shown significant decreases in first year enrollments from 1999 levels in 2000.
These include Queen’s University, the University of Toronto, the University of Ottawa
and the University of Western Ontario. The University of Guelph is also down from its
previous highs. The only schools that show increases are Carleton, RMC and Ryerson.
Women generally represent less than 10% of faculty members in Ontario engineering
schools.

As this data is quite recent, it has probably not been widely recognized as cause for
concern. Those who were involved in women in engineering issues expressed
disappointment on learning of the decrease in their faculty but had few explanations or
insights on what might have caused it. An increase in the total capacity in the last few
years, along with an increase in the absolute number of male students, is likely part of the
explanation. Data from one year does not necessarily indicate a trend but it is counter to
the two decades-long trend of increase and does support the concern of the Partnership
about stagnating enrollments.

4.3.2 RETENTION OF WOMEN STUDENTS


The partnership was interested in looking at the retention rate of women engineering
students relative to that of men. While uniform data on retention is not available, those
schools who have looked at it quantitatively have found the retention rate of women
undergraduate students is at least as high as that for men and often higher. This seems to
be the general view among those who have qualitative information as well. Women
students studying engineering are highly self-selected for interest and capability. Their
overall performance was reported to be as good as and often better than that of the men.
In this context, one might expect a lower dropout rate.

Students leave the study of engineering for a variety of reasons; some academic and some
contextual. Although beyond the scope of this project, it would be useful to explore
whether there is a gender difference as to the reasons why students drop out of
engineering. There may be room for actions that decrease the dropout rate and thus
increase the number of women who are graduating as engineers.

Interestingly, the overall retention rate at different schools varies significantly. In


response to concerns about the dropout rate, especially in first year, some schools take an
aggressive approach to identifying and helping all students in trouble. Special classes,
sections and processes have been put in place and demonstrate that when a priority has
been identified, changes in pedagogy can be put in place to address it. The same
attention focused on other elements of traditional pedagogy has the potential to benefit
not only women, but also men and to address the needs of the whole spectrum of diverse
students.

4.3.3 AD-HOC NATURE OF RESOURCES ADDRESSING THE ISSUE


Ryerson is the only university with a full-time person working exclusively on women in
engineering. In previous years there was a part-time co-ordinator but for this year at least
the position is full-time. At Queen’s there is a part-time Special Projects Officer whose
responsibilities are significantly, though not exclusively, directed at women in
engineering initiatives. The NSERC Chairs are funded at half time for women in science

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and engineering activities, and in Ontario the Chair holder is responsible for two
universities, Carleton University and the University of Ottawa. At a number of other
universities, including Carleton, Waterloo, McMaster, Guelph, and the University of
Toronto, faculty or staff members have some responsibilities on the issue often in
conjunction with recruitment. People, especially women (but also a few very involved
men), often take on these activities in addition to their regular duties, because of personal
interest and commitment. Many outreach, social, and mentoring events are organized by
women students themselves through women’s organizations like Women in Science and
Engineering (WISE) or Women in Engineering, Science and Technology (WEST).

4.3.4 INVOLVEMENT IN SCIENCE OUTREACH ACTIVITIES


Most faculties are involved in structured forms of science outreach to lower levels of
education through science or science and engineering camps, week-ends on campus,
school visits or on-campus days. Student co-ordinators often run these and are paid to do
so as summer employment. The focus of these may be strictly engineering (e.g. Ryerson,
Western) or a mix of science and engineering (e.g. the University of Toronto, Queens,
and Lakehead.) With the exception of Discover Engineering at Ryerson these are not
directed exclusively at girls. Others (e.g. the University of Toronto, Queen's, Carleton,
and McMaster) have made special efforts to attract girls either through special incentives,
50-50 enrollment targets or occasional girls-only sections or activities. A number of
schools (e.g. Western, Lakehead) make efforts to reach rural and northern communities
but young people in or near a community with an engineering school seem to have the
best access to outreach activities.

4.3.5 VIEW OF WHERE THE PROBLEM LIES


The view that the universities have only a minor role to play in increasing the enrollment
of women in engineering is fairly prevalent among Deans, faculty, and engineering
students. It is generally felt that efforts need to be made at the primary and secondary
levels to keep girls interested in math and science and more broadly in society to make
people in general more aware of what engineering is and what engineers do. Only a few
people I talked with seemed to feel that changes to engineering education would attract
more women, though a few were open to the idea.

In general, those interviewed had no sense of urgency to increase the number of women
in engineering per se as a way either of improving engineering or the engineering
capability of the country. Many people, including students, felt that the “women who
should be in engineering, are probably here” and that the numbers would increase
“naturally”, particularly if more attention were paid to pre-university education. This
view, which seems to predominate, is a good articulation of the argument that what needs
to be done for women is to ensure that they have equal access to opportunity. This
complacent attitude ignores or denies any need for systemic review or revision. Such
needs have been identified elsewhere and are documented in the literature. The papers by
Beder6, Rosser7, Tonso8, and Widnall9, among others, are useful to understanding
systemic discrimination as it applies to engineering education.
6
Beder, S., Towards a More Representative Engineering Education, International Journal of Applied
Engineering Education, Vol. 5. No. 2, 1989, pp.-173-183
7
Rosser, S.V., Female-Friendly Science - Including Women in Curricular Content and Pedagogy in
Science, The Journal of General Education, Vol. 41, No. 3, 1993 (pp. 191-220)

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4.3.6 LEADERSHIP
Leadership on the issue, where it exists in the universities, seems to come from the
personal values of one person or a small group of individuals, and is not necessarily
related to level, role or accountability. Individual faculty and staff members or students
have taken on such roles because they think it is important that it be done. This is almost
always over and above their other duties. Because of this the problems of burnout,
conflicting priorities such as preparing for tenure hearings, and in the case of students,
moving on, are real and affect continuity of effort and commitment.

A few universities have either standing or ad hoc “Women in Engineering” or “Gender


Issues” committees either as part of the faculty structure, or as part of the Engineering
Society. I have not analyzed their activities in detail but in general they do not appear to
be very active, especially on issues of systemic change.

CODE is essentially a vehicle for exchange of information and not an action body.
However, it is the body representing the Deans and as such has an important contribution
to make.

4.4 WHAT HAS MADE A DIFFERENCE


4.4.1 IMPROVED CLIMATE
There is no doubt that the climate for women students, in general, is much improved from
a number of years ago. While not unheard of, egregious acts of exclusion, harassment and
humiliation, are infrequent and most women report “professional treatment” from their
professors, teaching assistants and fellow students in the classroom setting. As a result of
bad publicity in the past many universities took action and, in general, things have been
“cleaned up”. Some gender and anti-harassment training takes place for faculty, staff and
students but it is rarely mandatory and usually very short. Waterloo does require such
training for all teaching assistants and a number of schools include such content in their
general Engineering Practices or Ethics and Law courses for students.

4.4.2 EFFECTIVENESS OF SCIENCE OUTREACH ACTIVITIES


Science outreach efforts appear to have an influence on the decision of girls to study
engineering. A number of such activities ranging from the Shad Valley program,
Ryerson’s Discover Engineering and other camps, the McMaster Fireball show and even
one day events put on by universities in science classrooms were mentioned by focus
group participants as the thing which most influenced them to study engineering. The
best quantitative data comes from Ryerson which has tracked the girls who took part in
Discover Engineering and found that between 50 and 60% of those who participated went

8
Tonso, K.L., Violence(s) and Silence(s) in Engineering Classrooms, Advancing Women in Leadership
Journal, Vol.1, No.1, Spring 1997
9
Widnall, S., Digits of Pi: Barriers and Enablers for Women in Engineering, Presented at the S.E. Regional
Meeting of the National Academy of Engineering, Georgia Tech, April 26, 2000

Etta Wharton Consulting 11


January 15, 2001
on to study engineering (Hiscocks and Zywno10). Hands-on activities are particularly
popular and powerful as they increased the confidence of girls “to actually do it”.

4.4.3 SOURCES OF POSITIVE INFLUENCES


Information about what engineering is and what engineers do, wherever it comes from, is
also influential. Parents and other family members are often cited as examples. Science
teachers, both male and female, have been influential for some current women
engineering students. Encouraging physics teachers, especially women (even though
rare), were mentioned. Another source of encouragement mentioned were science
teachers who were also engineers. Although they are also fairly rare, they do know what
engineers do and passed this on to their students, including the women. Guidance
counselors were seldom seen as supportive because they knew little or nothing about
engineering or because they had stereotypical views of who should be an engineer. The
opportunity to meet women engineers (at a career fair, for example) was also mentioned
as an influence as were such low-tech awareness campaigns as the I Want to be an
Engineer Just like My Mom poster. And there are a fair number of women currently
studying engineering who chose it specifically because someone told them “they couldn’t
do it”.

4.4.4 A HOPEFUL MODEL FOR MATURE STUDENTS AND OTHERS LACKING THE
TRADITIONAL HIGH SCHOOL BACKGROUND
Although small, the Native Access Program for Engineering (NAPE) at Lakehead
University is a good example that demonstrates it is possible for women with checkered
or interrupted academic backgrounds to succeed in engineering, if given a chance to
make up needed courses in a supportive environment which builds self- confidence as
well as math and science skills.

5.0 MAJOR ISSUES THAT DEFINE THE PROBLEM AND GUIDE


FURTHER ACTION
The following issues that arose during the interviews and focus groups inform the
creation of an intervention framework for possible actions by the Partnership. They are
discussed below to foster understanding and to provide the rationale for specific
recommendations that were provided. Viewpoints expressed in the following sections are
synthesized from information gathered through the interview process, the literature
research, and prior knowledge and experience.

5.1 MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT THE POOL


Many people think that the enrollment of women in engineering is limited by the “pool”
of women qualified for engineering studies. They feel there are far fewer women than
men who have the high school academic prerequisites required for engineering studies to
the point where it forms an upper boundary to enrollments. This is not supported by the
facts. OAC Physics is generally viewed as the least frequently held of the prerequisites.
10
Hiscocks, P.D., Zywno, M.S., Discover Engineering Summer Camp for High School Girls at Ryerson
Polytechnic University - A Recruitment Strategy that Works. Retrieved from the World Wide Web,
September 5, 2000. http://www.ccwest.org/english/word/Ryerson_conf_paper.html

Etta Wharton Consulting 12


January 15, 2001
Data was obtained from the Ministry on the number of students passing OAC Physics in
1998/1999 (the most recent data available). Thirty-nine percent (39%) of all those who
passed OAC Physics were girls. The number of girls who passed OAC Physics exceeded
the total number of places in first year engineering programs in Ontario. There may be
good reasons to be concerned that fewer girls than boys are studying advanced science
and indeed about the number of students overall studying science. The numbers don't,
however, support an argument that lack of “qualified young women” explains or limits
the potential enrollment of women in engineering undergraduate programs. Since
“availability” is not keeping the number of women low, other factors must be more
important.

5.2 WHEN IS THE RIGHT TIME TO INTERVENE


Among the people I interviewed, faculty, staff and students, there was considerable
consensus that early intervention was the key to increasing the number of women
studying engineering. This meant more efforts to improve science education in
elementary and secondary school, to prevent girls from dropping math and science, to
providing good role models and mentors, and to providing more information about
engineering. Many people felt even high school was too late and efforts needed to be
concentrated at the elementary level and junior high school level. There is certainly
research evidence from Frize11, MacDonald12, and others that early intervention programs
do make a positive impact on the views of girls about science, their interest in it, and their
choices about future course subjects. Vickers et al.13 showed that a one-week “hands on”
science program for girls was mentioned as influential seven years later by first-year
university calculus students.

Frize et al.14 have shown that even an event as short as a half day, if well designed, can
have an impact on the level of interest that girls show in science and engineering and in
their selection of school courses.

Although early intervention has become conventional wisdom, there is also solid
evidence that late intervention works. Discover Engineering at Ryerson is targeted at
girls in Grades 10 - 13. The effect on actual engineering enrollments, rather than just
positive experience or changing views about science, has been measured and is in the
range of 50-60% of participants. Rosati and Becker15 found that women make decisions
to study engineering much later than men do.

11
Frize, M., Impact of a Gender-Balanced Summer Engineering and Science Program on Future Course
and Career Choices, Presented at the WEPAN Conference, Seattle, Washington, July 1998.
12
MacDonald, T.L., Junior High Female Role Model Intervention Improves Science Persistence and
Attitudes in Girls Over Time, Presented at the 8th CCWEST Conference, July, 2000, St. John's,
Newfoundland.
13
Vickers, M.H., Ching, H.L., Dean, C.B. Do Science Promotion Programs Make a Difference, Society for
Canadian Women in Science and Technology, Proceedings, More Than Just Numbers Conference,
University of New Brunswick, May 1995.
14
Frize, M., Long, R., Moore S., Satterthwaite, G., Pinocchio's Nose, the Long and Short of it: A Special
Day for Grade 10 Female Students at Nortel, Presented at the 11th Canadian Conference on Engineering
Education, July 5-7, 1998, Dalhousie University, Halifax, N.S.
15
Rosati, P.A., Becker, L.M., Student Perspectives on Engineering, International Journal of Engineering
Education, Vol. 12, No. 4, 1997, pp. 250-256.

Etta Wharton Consulting 13


January 15, 2001
During the focus groups, no single dominant reason emerged which explained why
women were studying engineering. However, participation in science outreach programs
was mentioned by a fair number of women. Discover Engineering and the Shad Valley
program, both late intervention programs, were mentioned a number of times. Science
camps and in-school presentations at earlier stages were also mentioned. Other
information from the focus groups supports late intervention. Consistent with Rosati
(1997) above, many women said that they had made their decision to study engineering
very late, even as they were applying to university, or by default because they were good
in math and science and weren't sure what else to do. They also reported a high degree of
influence by parents and teachers as found in Rosati and Surry16 and Tietjen17.

Late intervention programs should be a significant part of continuing intervention


strategies particularly as their effect on actual engineering enrollments has been
demonstrated.

5.3 THE IMAGE OF ENGINEERING THROUGH THE EYES OF WOMEN


In Ontario, the PEO and others have frequently commented on the low level of general
knowledge about engineering, the image of the profession and its status. Those I
interviewed and participants in the focus groups frequently identified this as contributing
to the low level of enrollment of women. Knowledge, image and issues status may affect
all engineers and prospective engineers. To make a difference to the enrollment of
women the gender differences on how these issues are perceived and their impact
explicitly on women need to be recognized and addressed.

Most of the women engineering students in the focus groups said they had known very
little about what engineering was and what engineers do when they decided to study
engineering. Anderson18 also observed this. A surprising number said they still weren't
clear about what engineers really did in their work. This even included many with close
family members who were engineers. (Mature students and transfer students, a small
fraction of the total, were usually exceptions as they had often chosen engineering as a
result of focused career research actions.) When they had thought about it at all, many
had had typical stereotypes of engineering when young — images of bridges, trains, and
“nerds”. They were in engineering for a wide variety of reasons. These included parental
influence, encouragement by mentors, wanting something in science and math, interest in
a particular topic like the environment, active choice, default, or because they thought it
would offer a good and lucrative career or be a good foundation for many future,
including non-technical, careers.

They felt strongly that broadly disseminated information about what engineers really do
and how women engineers handle their careers in conjunction with other aspects of their
lives, particularly family, would encourage other young women to study engineering.
Many felt that women engineers were more likely to want to work on things that made a
16
Rosati, P.A., Surry, S., Female Perspectives of Engineering Education: A Qualitative Assessment,
Internation Journal of Engineering Education, Vol. 10, No. 2, 1994, pp. 164-170.
17
Tietjen, J.S., WIEP Report: Pilot Climate Survey Results, University of Colorado at Boulder, July 23,
1998.
18
Anderson, V., Identifying Special Advising Needs of Women Engineering Students, The Journal of
College Student Development, July-August, 1995.

Etta Wharton Consulting 14


January 15, 2001
difference to the world and people, and to want to work with people, and that these
aspects of engineering needed to be stressed. Not surprisingly, the lack of representation
of engineers in popular media was frequently raised. Rosati19 makes some interesting
observations about an engineering behavioural type and the different success rates of
women and men who have counter-type personality indicators, which supports these
observations.

More public information and education certainly seem needed. Engineering is competing
with many other fields which are considered to be more “friendly” to women and in
which the presence and power of women is greater and more visible. To address the
perception of girls and women about engineering, it is essential that their issues be dealt
with explicitly, and not lost in a nominally general, but in reality male-oriented, message.

5.4 DISPROPORTIONATE SELECTION OF CERTAIN DISCIPLINES BY WOMEN


As noted above, enrollment of women in the various engineering disciplines varies
considerably with high levels of enrollment in chemical engineering, environmental
engineering, and specialties related to medicine and biology and with much lower levels
of enrollment in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and specialties related to
computers. There is not yet a great deal of research addressing this explicitly, though
work by Lupart and Cannon20, McDill et al.21, and Wallace et al.22 has identified the issue
and begun the collection of information.

Many reasons were given in the focus groups that help explain why the women chose or
didn't choose a specific discipline. Quite a number chose a discipline because of interest
and because they felt they were good at the subject. This is consistent with the findings in
Wallace et al. (1999) above, and is similar to the choices made by their male colleagues.
This reasoning influenced decisions about all disciplines.

However, many expressed the view that they never had the opportunity to study or do
hands-on work with electricity or mechanical devices and hadn't known what was
involved. Several faculty members felt that considerable exposure to chemistry in high
school was a factor in the high enrollment of women in chemical engineering. A number
of students agreed with this view. Several women from Quebec who had studied
electricity and circuits at CGEP, and were now studying electrical engineering, gave this
as an example of why they were comfortable doing so.

Queries about computer related disciplines elicited interesting responses. Women in these
disciplines said they found them interesting and felt they were good at what they were
doing. However, the predominant response about interest in computer related engineering
was highly negative. They all use computers but didn't want that use to dominate. They
19
Rosati, P., Graduation in Engineering Related to Personality Type and Gender. Women in Engineering
Division, ASEE Annual Conference Proceeding, Session 1691, 1999.
20
Lupart, J.L., Cannon, M.E., Gender Differences in Junior High School Students Towards Future Plans
and Career Choices, Presented at the 8th CCWEST Conference, July 6-8, 2000, St. John's, Newfoundland.
21
McDill, M., Mills, S., Henderson, Y., Tracking the Gender Barrier: A 1990's Follow-up Study, Presented
at the 8th CCWEST Conference, July 6-8,2000, St. John's, Newfoundland.
22
Wallace, J.E., Haines, V.A., Cannon, M.E., Academic Choices of Engineering Undergraduates, Final
Grant Report to Imperial Oil, University of Calgary, April, 1999.

Etta Wharton Consulting 15


January 15, 2001
didn't want to be part of “geek” culture and they had no interest in sitting in front of a
screen all their lives, which they saw as the working future for those in this specialty. See
Lupart and Cannon(2000) above for information on differences in the ways male and
female students see and use computers. Spertus23 details gender issue factors, such as the
masculine environment, as they relate to computer science and computer engineering
education.

A desire to work with others and to make things “better” was often mentioned as their
own motivation and as explanation for why women studied chemical, environmental,
biological and biomechanical engineering. In these programs they could see the
connection between their course of study and societal needs.

A number of students who went to high school in Ontario mentioned that even when
courses like design technology, mechanics, drafting or computer programming existed at
their high school, they were in the non-academic stream. These courses were seen as low
status and taking them was inconsistent with studying engineering in university as they
were not acceptable prerequisites.

Efforts to increase the number of women in electrical, mechanical and computer


engineering specifically need to address the disconnect in curriculum between high
school science and engineering studies and to communicate the positive societal impact
of these disciplines.

5.5 DELIVERING WOMEN INTO ENGINEERING INITIATIVES THROUGH


GOODWILL AND VOLUNTEERISM
As noted above most women in engineering initiatives in Ontario universities are run by
volunteers and are usually low-budget efforts. Differences in continuity, longevity, and
outputs are apparent when programs are funded. Most universities now sponsor science
and engineering camps as a continuing feature of their long-term recruitment efforts. For
these programs, student program coordinators are hired and paid to do the job. Paid
professional co-ordination of the Ryerson program has allowed follow-up, analysis and
research about the effectiveness of the program, see Gilbride et al.24. The research carried
out by the Canadian Regional Chairs for Women in Science and Engineering is another
example of what can be done when funding and commitment are stable.

In general, the women faculty I met are concerned about women in engineering and a
number have been active on either a personal or institutional basis. They report some
expectation that they will take on “women's issues” or participate in committees so that
membership will not be exclusively male. Because their numbers are small, they may be
asked to sit on a disproportionate number of committees to ensure there is representation
by women on each of them. Those who were the first (or one of the first) woman in their
faculty felt this pressure more. These activities added considerably to their workload,

23
Spertus, E., Why are There So Few Female Computer Scientists? MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory
Technical Report 1315, 1991.
24
Gilbride, K., Kennedy, D.M., Waalen, J., Azyno, M., Discover Engineering - A Strategy for Attracting
Women into Engineering. Proceedings, Canadian Society of Mechanical Engineers Forum. Annual
Conferece of the Society of Mechanical Engineers, Ryerson Polytechnic University, May 1998.

Etta Wharton Consulting 16


January 15, 2001
usually at a time when they felt very pressured to do research and publish work that
would enhance their tenure files. They also expressed concerns about managing a decent
family life in these situations. The irony is that this work, though expected by their
faculties, was almost never recognized as contributing to their tenure unless an individual
was willing to fight to have it included. Although women faculty may decide to take on
such roles, they don't feel that it is fair to expect all women to do so just because they are
women.

Modern theory and practices about organizational change relate an institution's allocation
of resources to a change program, both money and people, as indicative of the level of
commitment to the change. The approach to women in engineering issues in the United
States appears to recognize this. Over 100 American engineering schools now have
funded Women in Engineering programs managed by professional staff.

5.6 MAKING ENGINEERING EDUCATION A POSSIBILITY FOR A BROADER


RANGE OF WOMEN
Most women engineering students enter engineering studies directly from high school.
They most often have parental support and many have had encouragement from mentors.
They also have high levels of academic achievement in high school. Hewitt and
Seymour25 found that women begin engineering studies on an equal, if not elevated,
footing compared to men. Faculty and Deans told me about the high number of women
award winners. In the past, women engineering students had to be able to withstand an
often openly hostile culture. While the culture is no longer openly hostile, they must be
able to adapt to what is still essentially a male culture. As a result, engineering at present
as a field of study, and as a career, is more likely to be open to “elite” women. This isn't a
reference to socio-economic background, though that may be a part of it, but to access to
opportunity, self-confidence, and academic performance. This may be an arbitrary and
unnecessary limitation to the number of potential women engineering students.

I was impressed by the small number of women I met who had come to engineering as
mature students, who had been technologists, and the Aboriginal women who were
studying engineering through the Native Access Program for Engineering at Lakehead,
none of whom had come directly from high school. Many women who have not taken the
traditional route could be excellent engineering students and engineers if appropriate
programs to support them existed. Sherriff and Binkley26 describes the PRIME program
in Manitoba, a recruitment and support program designed to encourage mature women
who are considering returning to school to enroll in science or engineering programs.

Making transfers from other university departments easier could also increase the number
of women engineering students. Engineering faculty in general didn't see other parts of
the university as a pool of potential engineering students. Because of the high level of
ignorance about engineering it is likely that many women with the prerequisites for
25
Hewitt, N.M., Seymour, E., Factors Contributing to High Attrition Rates Among Science And
Engineering Undergraduate Majors, Ethnography and Assessment Research Bureau of Sociological
Research, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, April 26, 1991.
26
Sherriff, B.L., Binkley, L., The Irreconcilable Images of Women Science, and Engineering: A Manitoban
Program That is Shattering the Stereotypes, Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and engineering,
Vol. 3, pp. 21-36, 1997.

Etta Wharton Consulting 17


January 15, 2001
engineering, and for whom it would have been a good match, have entered other courses
by default. Although the sample was small, the focus group of non-engineering women at
Queen's confirmed this.

Many women in engineering expressed interest in other subjects and facilitating the
ability to do a “double degree” would likely make engineering an interesting option to
additional women. This seems to be confirmed by the higher than average levels of
enrollment of women in McMaster's five-year programs in Engineering in Society and
Engineering and Management.

5.7 TAKING A NEW LOOK AT A MORE INCLUSIVE ENGINEERING EDUCATION


There has been considerable research on subtle biases in the way teachers and instructors
interact with and react to boys and girls in science classrooms. Examples include
challenging boys more while “helping” girls by giving them the answers, giving boys
more hands-on responsibilities with equipment and instruments, calling on boys more
frequently and asking them more open-ended questions, praising the work of girls for
neatness and that of boys for intellectual quality, etc. See the AWSEM27 document In
Their Nature, Compelling Reasons to Engage Girls in Science for more details including
a bibliography of research on the subject. These behaviours have been observed in both
male and female teachers and are usually unintentional and even shocking to the teachers
when they are made aware of them, as has been done in some studies by using videotapes
of their teaching.

Not surprisingly, these biases and behaviours don't abruptly stop at the pre-university
level. See Etzkowitz et al.28, Levenson29, and Spertus (1991), Tonso (1997) and Widnall
(2000) above for both personal reflection and scholarly work on subtle discrimination in
computer science and engineering classrooms at the university level.

Most of the faculty and students I interviewed did not identify or see engineering
educational practices as a source of possible barriers to women, though there was some
recognition that different learning styles needed to be accommodated. Those few who did
see problems had been very involved in, and were knowledgeable about, women's issues.
Pedagogy, curriculum, and behaviour in the classroom are generally perceived as neutral
or non-gendered practices. It must be noted that my sample of faculty is fairly small but,
as has been shown, such lack of recognition or acknowledgement is not unusual. Where a
culture is traditional and uniform, people often need to be taught to see how that culture
affects outsiders.

27
Advocates for Women in Science, Engineering and Mathematics, In Their Nature, Compelling Reasons
to Engage Girls in Science, Retrieved from the World Wide Web, September 22, 2000.
http://www.awsem.com/gnature.html
28
Etzkowitz, H., Kemelgor, C., Neuschatz, M., Ussi, B., Barriers to Women in Academic Science and
Engineering, in Who Will Do Science? Educating the Next Generation, ed. Pearson, W., Fechter, I.,
Baltimore Johns Hopskins University Press, 1994
29
Levenson, N.G., Educational Pipelines Issues for Women, Panel Presentation, CRA Snowbird meeting
on education pipeline issues for women, July 1990, Retrieved from the World Wide Web, October 10, 2000
http://www.ai.mit.edu/peope/ellens/Gender/pipeline.html

Etta Wharton Consulting 18


January 15, 2001
On probing, by giving examples and asking if they'd ever had similar experiences,
students did acknowledge some experiences of the type described above. This included
“certain roles in lab work that women 'fall into', e.g. record keeping or time
management”, “T.A.'s who gave me the answer instead of helping me understand the
question” and “profs using analogies, like power drills, which guys were more likely to
understand”.

Beder (1998) above makes the point that traditional emphasis in engineering education on
strictly technical and theoretical sciences, with very little inclusion of engineering as a
social system, results in considerable uniformity in the type of person who studies
engineering. Students (including many women) with broader interests or a different range
of talents, who want to work with people, and who care about social relations are put off
engineering studies. Arguments of this sort should not be dismissed as peripheral to
engineering education issues. Senior corporate engineering managers, now more than
ever, are identifying such skills as essential. Although there is no specific mention of
impact or influence on women Heidebrecht et al.30, in their task force report for the
Canadian Academy of Engineering, call for broader engineering education. They
recommend that engineering education be relevant to social issues and that engineering
faculties participate in providing liberal education opportunities for all university
students.

Many of the women in the focus groups found a broader view of engineering personally
appealing, though they did not connect the difference between what they'd like and the
traditional engineering education they were experiencing as a possible form of barrier or
bias to women.

In discussion, a group of women faculty raised a related concern. They said there is a
dynamic tension in engineering education caused by articulations about the importance of
teamwork, which they termed “propaganda”, and the reality of a university culture which
does not really support teamwork, but builds and rewards individual “egos”.

Even though not broadly recognized in current engineering education practices in


Ontario, issues of pedagogy, curriculum and subtle behaviours need be addressed.
Implementing change has the potential to make the study and practice of engineering
more appealing to a much larger number of women and men.

5.8 UNCONSCIOUS COLLUSION – WOMEN IN UNDERGRADUATE


ENGINEERING CULTURE
Most women students felt they got along with their male colleagues very well and that
the men accepted them as buddies. The most frequent description I heard about the state
of the relationship was that they (the women) wanted to be “just one of the guys” and this
is how the men treated them. This was stated again and again without irony and (by most
women) without consciousness of what even the choice of the language being used might
mean about women’s role in, and power to define, engineering culture. One mature
student categorized it very well as “going along to get along”. Consciously sometimes,
30
Heidebrecht, A., et al., Evolution of Engineering Education in Canada, A Report of the Canadian
Academy of Engineering, (December 1999).

Etta Wharton Consulting 19


January 15, 2001
but mostly unconsciously, this is the adaptive behaviour women engineering students
take on to allow them to survive, and even to thrive, while engineering students.
Madden31 observed this in her work with women engineering students at the University of
Maine. Franklin32 calls this “making women fit for engineering rather than making
engineering fit for women”.

There are few women undergraduates in engineering who will venture to admit to being
feminists or to express a feminist viewpoint about anything in a group situation. A few
times during the focus groups a woman tentatively identified an issue this way or gave an
example of how engineering culture was largely defined by men. This usually brought on
a vigorously defensive response by one or more other women who generally swayed the
group. What I observed was not so much intolerance of the other opinion but a need of
the women students to justify the path they'd taken. Even trivial examples of a bias to
male culture were swept away without reflection. The issue of wearing a dress to class
came up one time and the prevalent view was that women shouldn't wear a dress because
it confused “the guys” as to the role of the women students, i.e. as engineers rather than
women.

Women undergraduates in engineering are generally supportive of activities directed at


encouraging young girls to study science and math but not at women in engineering
programs at the university. They express a lot of concern about being able to have a
family while working as engineers. Many of them don't think it will be possible. But the
predominate attitude seems to be to avoid anything that might be labeled as a women's
issue and deny that it applies to them.

In counterpoint to this a couple of times women chemical engineering students made


interesting points about how having a lot of women in the class changed the dynamics in
the classroom. They said it gave them more control in the situation, and allowed them to
respond to mild putdowns about things female, e.g. women's shoes, with equivalent
observations about things male, e.g. the wearing of ties.

Engineering students are aware of sexual harassment: a few described incidents they had
experienced or observed during work terms or summer jobs. These students were
commiserated with but the incidents were dismissed by their peers as “out there”, or
belonging to another generation, not something that might be part of a continuum of
engineering culture.

This unconscious collusion is the most problematic area for possible intervention by the
Partnership. These women are smart, assertive, and have found a strategy that is working
for them. They are having a pretty good experience studying engineering. They don't feel
they are broken and in need of “fixing”.

31
Madden, M., Women Engineering Students Speak, University of Maine, August 17, 1999. Retrieved
from the World Wide Web, September 12, 2000.
http://www.eece.maine.edu/ecews/Women_Engineers_Summary.htm
32
Franklin, U.M., Looking Forward, Looking Back, Presented at the 'More than Just Numbers' Conference,
University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, N.B., May 10, 1995.

Etta Wharton Consulting 20


January 15, 2001
On the other hand, collusion can lead to significant cognitive dissonance, observable in
some of the examples given above. It does not prepare them for their working lives where
even many of today's students still expect to find barriers and limitations. And most
significantly, given the objectives of the Partnership, this unconscious collusion makes it
less likely that women who won't or can't adapt will be comfortable pursuing an
engineering education.

Intervention strategies aimed at exploring and understanding gender dynamics in the


engineering classroom need to be directed at both the men and women students for
maximum effect. Conventional interventions like consciousness-raising or training
sessions may not be welcome, may put the women on the defensive and could create or
exacerbate an “us versus them” dynamic. Yet action is needed.

6.0 DEVELOPING AN INTERVENTION FRAMEWORK FOR THE


PARTNERSHIP
The Partnership has undertaken to get involved in what is essentially a very large change
program. There is no one thing alone that will make and sustain the change and a very
large number of possible choices that will contribute to it. Therefore, within a broad
range, clarity of vision about the goal and tenacity of attention are as important as
selection of individual projects.

The objective of the Partnership is to increase the enrollment of women studying


undergraduate engineering. To do this in a way that achieves a long-term, sustainable
critical mass requires structural reform with its concomitant requirement for institutional
commitment and money. There are many institutions with a role including: government
ministries responsible for primary, secondary and tertiary education policy; primary and
secondary school systems across the province; the universities; professional organizations
of engineers; teachers and guidance counselors; and various media. This task is a large
one and not one which the Partnership can do on its own. However the Partnership, by
virtue of the roles and expertise of its members, is in a good position to take on leadership
aspects of structural change. The Partnership will need to engage other stakeholders to
work on systemic and institutional change.

The Partnership can also contribute by choosing to act as a “centre” for coordination of
resources and efforts across the province in specific areas. There is also a role for the
Partnership to undertake some specific projects and create some products. This will
address the need for concrete actions in ways that will make a difference to individual
girls and women.

[T]he partnership could both jump-start the change and make a difference with a strategy
that combines shorter-term project initiatives and longer-term structural change
initiatives.

7.0 RECOMMENDATIONS

Etta Wharton Consulting 21


January 15, 2001
Recommendations were made to the Partnership in the following areas:
7.1 Structural Change and Creating Strategic Alliances
7.2 Engineering Education
7.3 Institutionalizing Women-into-Engineering Initiatives
7.4 Outreach Activities for Girls
7.5 Public Education about Engineering for Women
7.6 Culture in Engineering Classrooms

Etta Wharton Consulting 22


January 15, 2001
APPENDIX A

ENROLLMENT INFORMATION
YEAR 1 ENROLLMENT
Total 2000
Target Actual Sept. Actual Nov. 1 Undergrads

UNIVERSITIES 1999 2000 1999 2000 1999 2000

Carleton 716 730 804 742 792

Guelph 170 160

Lakehead 130 130 110 108 98 517

Laurentian 52 52

McMaster 640 650 610 766 604 2277*

Ottawa* 612 602 615 1945**

Queen’s 600 600 586 588 591 2324

RMC 240 200 200 177 167 510 (engr only)

Ryerson 712 729 710 725 692 716 2204*

Toronto 900 950 969 1009 937 3804*

Waterloo 840 840 943 851 925 3914

Western 500 500 500 437 500 1389

Windsor 240 251 301 244


September 8, 2000
* not including computer science which is part of the faculty at Ottawa.
** Total Engineering

Etta Wharton Consulting 23


January 15, 2001
APPENDIX A

ENROLLMENT INFORMATION
PERCENTAGE OF WOMEN IN ENGINEERING FACULTIES

Year 1 Undergrads Postgrads Faculty

UNIVERSITIES 1999 2000 1999 2000 1999 2000 1999 2000

Carleton 18.0 20 18.0 19 19.0 19 6.1 9

Guelph 33.0 37.0 25.0 10.0

Lakehead 13.0 13.9** 10.0 10.8** N/A 4.0

Laurentian 10.0 14.0 5.0 0

McMaster 20.2 20.2 20.2 20.7 20.47 21.15 3.91 4.08

Ottawa* 21 18 21.6 21.5 19.8 19.1 12.3

Queen’s 29.6 22.40 26.9 25.08 21.52 25.99 11.5 9.0

RMC 20.0 24.0 18.0 24.0 4.0 8.5 2.0 4.5

Ryerson 14.9 17.8 16.0 9.8 N/A N/A 10.0 10.0

Toronto 29.6 26 27.0 26.8 18.3 18.3 9.0 8.0

Waterloo 23.7 23.1 21.3 21.9 23.1 23.4 7.95 8.98

Western 19.4 16.5** 21.0 13.4** 15.0 8.25

Windsor 20.6 16.9** 23.6 23.7** 25.4 20.7** 12.2 9.8**


February 17, 2001
* Not including computer science which is part of the faculty at Ottawa
** This data was not provided by CODE but calculated from information given to me (EW) by the specific
university. It will be revised if necessary when the official data is received from CODE

Etta Wharton Consulting 24


January 15, 2001
APPENDIX B

USEFUL WEB SITES – WOMEN IN ENGINEERING


• About AWSEM (Advocates for Women in Science, Engineering and Mathematics)
http://www.aswem.com/aboutawsem.html

• Advancing Women in Leadership Journal


http://www.advancingwomen.com/awl/awl.html

• American Association of University Women


http://www.aauw.org/2000/research/html

• American Society for Engineering Education


http://www.asee.org/jee/

• Archives of Women in Science and Engineering


http://www.lib.iastate.edu/spcl/wise/wise.html

• ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) Board on Minorities and


Women
http://www.asme.org/bmw/

• Association for Women in Computing


http://www.awc-hq.org/

• Barriers to Equality in Academia: Women in Computer Science at MIT


http://www.cs.washington.edu/homes/lazowska/mit/

• Canadian Coalition of Women in Engineering, Science & Technology (CCWEST)


http://www.ccwest.org/english/ccwest.html

• Canadian Council of Professional Engineers (CCPE)


http://www.ccpe.ca/ccpe.cfm?page=WomenLinksintro

• Centre for Women’s Studies – OISE (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education)
http://www.oise.utoronto.ca/webstuff/departments/cwse1.html/

• Chair for Women in Science and Engineering - Atlantic Region


http://www.mun.ca/cwse/

• Chair for Women in Science and Engineering – British Columbia and Yukon
SWIFT (Supporting Women in Information Technology)
http://taz.cs.ubc.ca/swift/

• Chair for Women in Science and Engineering (Prairie Region)


http://www.ensu.ucalgary.ca/cwse/Research.html

Etta Wharton Consulting 25


January 15, 2001
APPENDIX B

• Chair for Women in Science and Engineering in Ontario


http://www.carleton.ca/wise/first.htm

• Chaire – Femme Science et Genie – Quebec


http://www.fsg/ulaval.ca/chaire-crsng-alcan/index.html

• Chairs for Women in Science and Engineering Bibliography


http://www.ensu.ucalgary.ca/cwse/CWSE4.html

• Commission on the Advancement of Women and Minorities in Science, Engineering


and Technology Development
http://www.nsf/gov/od/cawmset/

• Drexel Women in Engineering


http://www.ece.drexel.edu/wie/home.html

• Educational Resources – The National Academy of Engineering


http://www.nae.edu/nae/cwe/cwe.nsf/Pages/Educational+Resources?OpenDocument

• Groups Relating to Women in Science and Engineering


http://www.cs/yale.edu/homes/tap/sci-women-groups.html

• GST (Gender, Science and Technology) Gateway


http://gstgateway.wigsat.org/

• IEEE – Web Resources


http://www.ieee.org/organizations/committee/women/webreso.htm

• IEEE – Women in Engineering


http://www.ieee.org/organizations/committee/women/

• Interesting Statistics on Women in Engineering


http://www.ee.ryerson.ca:8080/~womeng/wiec/news/trailblazers/statistics/statistics.ht
ml

• Julia Morgan Engineering Program at the University of California at Berkeley


http://www.coe.berkeley.edu.cues/jmepevents/html

• MentorNet for Women in Engineering and Science


http://www.mentornet.net/

Etta Wharton Consulting 26


January 15, 2001
APPENDIX B
• National Academy of Engineering – Books and Articles Related to Women in
Engineering
http://www.nae.edu.nae.cwe.nsf/Pages/Related+Books+&+Articles?
OpenDocument#title

• National Science Foundation


http://www.nsf.gov/

• NRC (National Research Council) Women in Engineering and Science Program


http://hr.nrc.ca:8080/HRB/CareerPg.nsf/StudE/WES

• On Being A Mentor to Students in Science and Engineering


http://www.nap.edu/readingroom/books/mentor

• Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) – Women in Engineering


http://www.peo.on.ca/tourofpeo/women.html

• Promoting Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) for Women – U.K.


http://www.set4women.gov.uk/

• Society of Women Engineers


http://www.swe.org/

• The Online Ethics Center for Engineering & Science


http://onlineethics.org/ecsel/index.html

• The Penn State Women in Engineering Collection


http://www.geog.psu.edu/~kjordan/index.html

• W.I.S.E. – Women in Science and Engineering – Kingston Chapter


http://engsoc/queensu.ca/wise/

• Welcome to Shad Valley


http://www.shad.ca/home.html

• WiMSE (Women in Math, Science and Engineering) Web Resources


http://www.sci.wsu.edu/wimse/resource/WebRes.html

• Women and Engineering – Cornell


http://www.engr.cornell.edu/admissions/wae.cfm

• Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering


http://www.mills.edu/ACAD_INFO/MCS/SPERTUS/Gender/wom_and_min.html

Etta Wharton Consulting 27


January 15, 2001
APPENDIX B
• Women and Science: Issues and Resources
http://www.inform.umd.edu/EdRes/Topic/WomensStudies/Bibliographies/ScienceBi
blio/science-pt1

• Women in Engineering – Ohio State University


http://www.eng.ohio-state.edu/student_info/women.html

• Women in Engineering – University of Maryland


http://www.eng.umd.edu/wie/

• Women in Engineering – University of Waterloo


http://www.eng.uwaterloo.ca/~w-in-eng/index.html

• Women in Engineering (WIE) University of California – Davis


http://wie.ucdavis.edu/

• Women in Engineering and Information Technology – The Australian National


University
http://feit/anu.edu.au/weit/html

• Women in Engineering and Science at Other Universities – Links from Ryerson


http://www.ee.ryerson.ca/~womeng/wiec/wie/links/univ.html

• Women in Engineering and Science Program (WESP) at Kansas State University


http://www.ksu.edu/wesp/

• Women in Engineering and Technology – Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute


http://www.rensselaer.edu/web/wie/

• Women in Engineering at Ryerson – Publications


http://www.ee.ryerson.ca:8080/~womeng/

• Women in Engineering Program (WEP) – The Pennsylvania State University


http://www.engr.psu.edu/wep/

• Women in Engineering Program (WEP) – University of Texas


http://www.eng.utexas.edu/wep/

• Women in Engineering Program (WIEP) – Purdue University


http://fre.www.ecn.purdue.edu/~wiep/

• Women in Engineering Program (WIEP) University of Colorado at Boulder


http://www.colorado.edu/engineering/WIEP

Etta Wharton Consulting 28


January 15, 2001
APPENDIX B
• Women in Engineering Program Advocate’s Network (WEPAN)
http://www.engr.washington.edu/~wepan/trial.htm

• Women in Engineering Resources, D.W. Craik Engineering Library, University of


Manitoba
http://www.umanitoba.ca/academic_support/libraries/units/engineering/women.html

Women in Engineering – University of Kentucky


http://www.engr.uky.edu/WIE/

• Women in Engineering, Science and Technology (WEST), University of Western


Ontario
http://www.engga.uwo.ca/west/

• Women in Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering


http://www.siam.org/world/women.htm

• Women in Science (Guide to Reference Resources, LSU Libraries)


http://www.lib.lsu.edu/sci/chem/guides/srs117.html

• Women in Science and Engineering – University of Washington


http://www.engr.washington.edu/~uwwise/

• Women in Science and Engineering at the Communications Research Centre (CRC)


http://www-ext.crc.ca/WomenSandE/

• Women’s Engineering Society – U.K.


http://www.wes.org.uk/

• Young Engineers Clubs – U.K.


http://www.youngeng.org/

• Youth Engineering and Science (YES) –Virtual Adventures Camps Canada (VACC)
http://www.internaut.org/e/

Etta Wharton Consulting 29


January 15, 2001
APPENDIX C

BIBLIOGRAPHIES ON WOMEN IN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING


• American Society for Engineering Education, Women in Engineering search results
(Twelve Pages)
http://www.asee.org/jee/text_action.cfm

• Advocates for Women in Science, Engineering and Mathematics, Annotated


Bibliography (Four Pages)
http://www.awsem/com/gbiblio.html

• Chairs for Women in Science and Engineering Bibliography (Twenty-two pages)


http://www.ensu.ucalgary.ca/cwse/CWSE4.html

• MentorNet Bibliography (Four pages)


http://www.mentornet.net/Documents/Program/Links/bibliography.html

• National Academy of Engineering, Research on Women in Engineering,


Bibliography, (Five Pages)
http://www.nae.edu/NAE/cwe/cwe.nsf/Pages/Research?OpenDocument

• National Academy of Engineering, Books & Articles related to Women in


Engineering, Bibliography (Six pages)
http://www.nae.edu/nae/cwe/cwe.nsf/Pages/Related+Books+&+Articles?
OpenDocument

• Why Are There So Few Female Computer Scientists, Accompanying Bibliography


(Eleven pages)
http://www.ai.mit.edu/people/ellens/Gender/pap/node42.html

• Women and Science: Issues and Resources, Wisconsin Bibliographies in Women's


Studies, University of Wisconsin, (Thirty-two pages)
http://www.inform.umd.edu/EdRes/Topic/WomensStudies/Bibliographies/ScienceBi
blio/Science-pt1

• Women in Science and Engineering, Resources, The Bibliography of The Ada Project
(Seven pages)
http://www.cs.yale.edu/homes/tap/sci-women-refs.html

• Women of NASA, Annotated Bibliography of Books Related to Gender Equity in


Math and Science, (Three pages)
http://quest.arc.nasa/gov/women/resources/annbib.html

• Suggested Readings: Girls Count in a Technological Age. (Twelve Pages)


http://www.girlscount.org.articles/readings.html

Etta Wharton Consulting 30


January 15, 2001
APPENDIX D.1

ANNOTATION OF PAPERS

STATISTICS

Frize, M., Heap, R., The Professional Education of Women Engineers in Ontario and
Quebec (1920-1999): Enrollment Patterns, Presented at the 8th CCWEST Conference,
July 6-8, 2000, St. John’s Newfoundland. Retrieved from the World Wide Web October
20, 2000. http://www.mun.ca/cwse/events_nfnt.html

The first part of a larger study to examine the connections between the
structural and cultural dimensions of education and the gendering of the
engineering profession, this paper examines enrollment levels and degrees
granted by gender for five historically defined periods from 1924 to 1999.
The most complete data comes from the University of Toronto but later
data includes that of the Ecole Polytechnic and Canada overall.
Interestingly the years of the Second World War which saw tremendous
participation of women in the industrial workforce did not see equivalent
growth of women studying engineering though the rate of men studying
engineering continued to increase significantly. Two significant periods of
growth in the enrollment of women emerge, one in the late 1970’s and
1980’s in a climate of an active women’s movement, policy and legal
changes regarding the status of women and an even more rapid increase
after the 1989 Montreal Massacre.

Gadalla, T.M., Pattern of Women's Enrollment in University Mathematics,


Engineering and Computer Science in Canada, 1972 - 1995. Ontario Institute for
Studies in Education, University of Toronto. Retrieved from the World Wide
Web, September 5, 2000. http://taz.cs.ubc.ca/swift/archives/tahany.html

An analysis of changing patterns of enrollment of women in these three


fields with data on undergraduate and graduate enrollment. Over the study
period the enrollment of women in engineering increased, that in computer
science decreased and there was little change in mathematics. The point is
made that in spite of the increased enrollment the likelihood that a woman
university student will major in engineering is still less than one-fifth that
of a man. Many tables and graphs are included to illustrate the analysis
and conclusions.

Etta Wharton Consulting 31


January 15, 2001
APPENDIX D.1

Matsui, H.S., Where are the Women? A Benchmark Study of Women in High-
Technology Fields in Science and Technology in British Columbia, Presented at the 8th
CCWEST Conference, July 6-8, 2000, St. John’s, Newfoundland. Retrieved from the
World Wide Web, October 20, 2000. http://www.mun.ca/cwse/events_nfnt.html

This paper uses statistical data, information from telephone surveys of


employees and employers and focus groups to examine a number of issues
affecting the participation and status of women in the high technology
work force in British Columbia. Participation, earnings, work environment
issues, course selection in high school and university preparation are
among the factors dealt with. While there was a significant increase
between 1991 and 1996 overall participation of women remained low.
Women are less significantly less likely than men to take high school
physics, a prerequisite for university training in computer science and
engineering. However a review of the data for all science and technology
occupations showed that women were more likely than men to have
completed a university degree (55% versus 45%). Within the technical
occupation group in high technology occupations 33% of the women had
completed a university degree compared with 21% of men. A number of
questions arising from the data are posed.

National Science Foundation, Women, Minorities and Persons with Disabilities in


Science and Engineering 2000, Retrieved from the World Wide Web, October 4, 2000.
http://www.nsf.gov/sbe/srs/nsf00327/start.htm

Data and analysis of enrollment rates of women and minorities in science


and engineering in American two-year and four-year post-secondary
institutions. Includes data for women in engineering. Women were 19%
of total undergraduate enrollment in engineering programs in 1997.

Etta Wharton Consulting 32


January 15, 2001
APPENDIX D.2

ANNOTATION OF PAPERS

POLICY ISSUES

Boman, M., The Australasian Women in Engineering Forum: Nurturing Diversity in


Cooperation Between Industry and Higher Education. Australasian Journal of
Engineering Education, Vol. 6, No. 2, 1995. Retrieved from the World Wide Web,
October 4, 2000. http://elecpress.monash.edu.au/ajee/fol6no2/18boman.htm

Forum held at the University of Technology, Sydney that resulted in the


formation of the Women in Engineering Network which includes industry.
A report on the proceedings of the first Australasian Women in
Engineering education, students, academics and community people. The
Forum title ‘Transforming Cultures’ is reflected in many of its
recommendations which focus not on ‘fixing women’ but on ‘fixing
engineering’ by introducing diversity into all its aspects. Examples of
proposed actions include input into a national Review of Engineering
Education in Australia and lobby for funding for the development of
alternative, inclusive curricula. The forum was also a strong proponent of
securely financed Women in Engineering Programs at Australian
universities. The commonality of issues with those in North America is
evident.

Engle, S., Bringing Diversity to Engineering, ASME Board on Minorities and Women.
Retrieved from the World Wide Web, October 6, 2000.
http://www.asme.org/mechanicaladvantage/diversity.htm

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers is a major professional


organization for mechanical engineers. In recognition of the need to
increase the participation of women and minorities in mechanical
engineering and in the organization it created the Board on Minorities and
Women. Among their initiatives are grants to ASME student sections
projects that encourage diversity and the participation of women and
minorities. These include outreach programs and on-campus speaker
programs. The ASME also sponsors a minority leadership program of
internships which provides mentoring on taking a leadership role within
ASME and diversity training workshops for ASME leaders. Additional
diversity work is done in conjunction with the ASME’s Board on Pre-
College Education and the Board on Engineering Education.

Etta Wharton Consulting 33


January 15, 2001
APPENDIX D.2

Franklin, U.M., Looking Forward, Looking Back, Presented at the ‘More than Just
Numbers’ Conference, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, New Brunswick, May
10, 1995. Retrieved from the World Wide Web, September 29, 2000.
http://www.ccwest.org/english/word/looking_speech.html

In this speech Dr. Franklin describes initiatives that have improved the
climate for women in engineering education but argues that these are case-
specific and not adequate. She argues for systemic changes that will make
engineering fit for women, rather than women fit for engineering. The first
approach has helped women become acculturated into engineering but
does not allow for valuing of women’s behaviors, values or skills when
they are different from those traditionally favored in engineering. She
gives some interesting examples of how traditional concepts such as ‘rank’
can be perceived differently from a male and female perspective. She calls
on women to be careful about the language they use so as not to perpetuate
the use of patriarchal metaphors particularly those connected to violence
and to remember feminism and their solidarity with other women. Her
views are as relevant today as when she articulated them.

Frize, M., Managing Diversity, Presented at the More Than Just Numbers Conference,
Vancouver B.C. 1998. Retrieved from the World Wide Web, June 27, 2000.
http://www.carleton.ca/wise/mtjn98pap.html

A collection of facts and views about the participation of women in


science and engineering including at school and in the workplace
supported by cited references. Includes survey information about the
response of provincial engineering licensing associations to women’s
issues in their activities and policies.

Frize, M., Reflections on the Engineering Profession: Is it Becoming Friendlier for


womenWomen, CSME Bulletin, (12-14) June 12-14, 1993 and IEEE Engineering in
Medicine and Biology Magazine, December, 1993. Retrieved from the World Wide Web,
September 29, 2000.
http://www.ccwest.org/english/word/monique1.html

A reflection by the holder of the NSERC Ontario Chair for Women in


Science and Engineering about the status and climate for women
engineers. The author identifies outstanding barriers and gives concrete
suggestions for how to address them. Among other subjects she deals with
presenting the right message about engineering to attract girls, eradicating
stereotypes, valuing the contributions and strengths of women and dealing
with various barriers in the engineering workplace. She offers suggestions
for the education system, the workplace and technical societies and
associations.

Etta Wharton Consulting 34


January 15, 2001
APPENDIX D.2

Frize, M., Women Scientist and Engineers in the Academy, Paper presented at the
Colloquium on Women in the Academy, May 26, 2000, University of Alberta.

This paper examines barriers at various levels of the education system and
how they accumulate to eventually affect the number of women faculty in
Engineering schools. Solutions are suggested at each level and a number
of initiatives directed explicitly at increasing the number of women faculty
from the U.S., Canada, and a number of European countries are described.

Frize, M., Deschenes, C., Cannon, Williams, Klawe, M., A Unique National Project to
Increase the Participation of Women in Science and Engineering (CWSE/Canada),
Presented at the Engineering Foundation conference on Women in Engineering, Mont
Tremblant, Quebec, July 14-18, 1998.

The history and rationale behind the creation of the five Canadian
regional NSERC Chairs in Women in Science and Engineering is
described. Biographies and research interests of the Chair holders are
included. The paper outlines the activities and strategies common to all
five Chairs as well as describing the specific interests, programs and
research of each individual Chair. Evaluation of the performance of the
regional Chairs is due in 2002 with the possibility of a subsequent 5-year
extension of their positions.

Frize, M., McGinn-Giberson, J., Breaking the Glass Ceiling in Engineering Education:
The Next Challenges. Version of a brief sent to the UNESCO Task Force on Education
for the Twenty-First Century, ‘The Delors Commission’, Retrieved from the World Wide
Web, June 26, 2000. http://www.carleton.ca/wise/webmtjn95/BREAKING.html

A concise brief outlining issues and proposed solutions directed at the pre-
university level and the university level, including climate, culture,
curriculum and teaching styles.

Goodell, J.E., Increasing the Enrollment, Retention and Success of Female Students in
Non-Traditional Areas: What strategies can we use to involve staff in developing a more
gender-and culturally-inclusive educational environment? The Proceedings of the 7th
Annual Teaching Learning Forum, The University of Western Australia, February 4-5,
1998. Retrieved from the World Wide Web, September 5, 2000.
http://cleo.murdoch.edu.au/pubs/tlf/tlf98/contents.html

The author looks at initiatives to increase the number of women in


science, mathematics, engineering and technology programs at a number
of Australian universities, draws some conclusions about problems with
targeted initiatives and discusses why with so many initiatives, there isn’t

Etta Wharton Consulting 35


January 15, 2001
APPENDIX D.2
more fundamental institutional and structural reform. The dependence of
initiatives on outside money, voluntary input from individuals and lack of
institution-wide commitment are all examples of chronic under-resourcing
which limits the impact of programs. The importance of the support of
Heads of Schools (Deans) and a policy framework are cited as essential to
structural reform. A useful model for the evolution of intervention
programs by Chubin and Malcolm, 1996 is included.

Land of Plenty, Diversity as America's Competitive Edge in Science, Engineering and


Technology, Report of the Congressional Commission on the Advancement of Women
and Minorities in Science, Engineering and Technology Development, Retrieved from
the World Wide Web, September 12, 2000. http://www.nsf.gov/od/cawmset/

The Commission spent over a year examining the barriers that exist for
women, minorities and persons with disabilities at different states of the
science, engineering and technology pipeline. This included a
comprehensive review of data, past reports and new research. It also heard
testimony from a wide range of experts, advocates, educators and
executives. Recommendations include aggressive, focused intervention
efforts at a number of points in the educational pipeline and expanded
financial investment in support of under-represented groups in SET higher
education, including institutions that have traditionally served these
groups. It also recommends employer accountability for career
development and advancement and a creation of a body to co-ordinate
efforts to transform the image of SET professions and their practitioners to
be inclusive of the under-represented groups.

Lane, N., Remarks of the Honorable Neal Lane, Assistant to the President for Science
and Technology to the Summit on Women in Engineering, May 18, 1999, Washington,
D.C. Retrieved from the World Wide Web, September 9, 2000.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/WH/EOP/OSTP/html/998_27_2.html

This speech contains the expected political rhetoric but it does illustrate
that women in engineering issues receive some degree of national policy
attention in the U.S. It also describes information on some interesting
educational initiatives including a pilot program in partnership of local
school boards and businesses to recruit and hire math, science and
technology teachers and provide them with a year-long salary for at least
four years. Business guarantees summer employment for the teacher and
supports development of teaching methods that incorporate real-world
experience.

Etta Wharton Consulting 36


January 15, 2001
APPENDIX D.2

Martinson, K.M., Wolfe, D.A., Diversity in the Engineering Profession, Presented at the
8th CCWEST Conference, July 6-8, 2000, St. John’s Newfoundland. Retrieved from the
World Wide Web October 20, 2000. http://www.mun.ca/cwse/events_nfnt.html

This paper has two distinct parts. The first reports on the development of
draft policy statements on diversity for the Canadian Council of
Professional Engineers. These deal with representation in governance,
participation and inclusion in activities promoting engineering to students,
public awareness and issues related to retention in the workplace. The next
step will be the development of a policy implementation plan. A number
of potential programs are identified. The second part of this paper presents
demographic data from recent studies and surveys undertaken by the
Canadian Engineering Resources Board, including enrollments by gender
in undergraduate and graduate programs. Graduate enrollment statistics by
discipline are provided.

Professional Engineers Ontario, National Report of Workplace Conditions for Engineers,


Forward and Executive Summary, 1994. Retrieved from the World Wide Web, October
5, 2000. http://www.peop.on.ca/Communications/reports.html

The Women in Engineering Advisory Committee of the PEO along with


eight other provincial and territorial professional engineering associations
conducted a survey of 10,000 Canadian male and female engineers. It
asked them to comment on the challenges they face in the workplace and
on whether women face different challenges to success. The report found
that to an extent the road to success was more difficult for women
engineers. Barriers are often attitudinal and subtle. A significant number
of male survey respondents share these views. The results lead to the
conclusion that workplace equity programs hold promise as a positive way
to address attitudes and behaviours. One important finding related to
increasing the participation of women in engineering is that while notions
that males are simply better qualified to be engineers by virtue of their sex
are not prevalent among professional engineers, there does remain a
significant proportion of male engineers who either question women’s
ability in this area or reserve judgement.

Report of the Task Force on Women in the Sciences and Engineering to the Natural
Sciences and Engineering Research Council, 1996. Retrieved from the World Wide
Web, September 12, 2000. http://www.nserc.ca/pubs/wochap2.htm

The participation and success rate of women in various NSERC programs


as gathered and reviewed. It was found that women were under-presented
in certain programs funded by NSERC compared to their participation of
women in science and engineering at the university level. The report

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January 15, 2001
APPENDIX D.2
analyses each specific NSERC program and makes recommendations on
ways to increase the participation of women. The types of systemic
barriers and proposed changes are important beyond the scope of the
NSERC organization because of the influence and impact NSERC has on
Canadian university activities and policy. As a major funding agency for
engineering research, barriers in universities may be attributed to ‘NSERC
requirements’. This document can be a guide for parallel review and
change in university engineering faculties.

Williams, M.F., CWSE Strategy for the New Millenium, Adapted from an address to the
CCWEST Conference, Vancouver, B.C., May 22, 1998. Retrieved from the World Wide
Web, September 29, 2000. http://www.mun.ca/cwse/millenium.html

The author holds the NSERC Chair for Women in Science and
Engineering for Atlantic Canada. This paper urges members of CCWEST,
a coalition working on issues of women in science, engineering and
technology, to take on leadership roles because of their presence coast to
coast, their connection to influence spheres and their ability to work with a
common strategy. Her vision is a participation rate at all levels greater
than or equal to 33%. The strategy recommended is based on individual
leadership to convey a message that science and engineering are exciting
careers for women along with ongoing institutional change to remove
roadblocks. She describes an influence map affecting the target audiences
and offers the strategy for the Atlantic Region Chair as a reference point
for the development of a national strategy.

Women in Engineering: More than Just Numbers, Conference Proceedings, May 21-23,
1991, Fredericton, N.B.,

Report of the Fifth Canadian Conference of Women in Engineering, Science and


Technology, August 14-15, 1992 Glendon College, York University, Toronto, ON

More than Just Numbers, Report of the Canadian Committee on Women in Engineering,
April 1992. , Retrieved from the World Wide Web, December 12, 2000.
http://www.carleton.ca/wise/first.htm

More Than Just Numbers, 1995 Women in Engineering Conference, May 10-12, 1995,
Fredericton, N.B., Papers and Initiatives., Retrieved from the World Wide Web,
December 12, 2000. http://www.carleton.ca/wise/first.htm

These papers and conference proceedings are part of the history of policy
initiatives on the subject of women in engineering in Canada over the last
decade. In each, recommendations are made for each of the sectors,
elementary and high school, universities, professional organizations,
workplaces, etc. where change is necessary. The last mentioned reference

Etta Wharton Consulting 38


January 15, 2001
APPENDIX D.2
includes the responses of a number of involved sectors as to the actions
they had taken to date.

Wulf, Wm.A., Testimony of the President, National Academy of Engineering to the


Commission on the Advancement of Women and Minorities in Science, Engineering, and
Technology Development, July 20, 2000. Retrieved from the World Wide Web,
September 25, 2000. http://www.nae.edu/nae/nae.nsf/news/

In his testimony before this Congressional Commission, the president of


the National Academy of Engineering describes a number of initiatives of
the NAE to address the low representation of women in engineering
including the Celebration of Women in Engineering website and the
national Summit on Women in Engineering held in 1999. A large portion
of his testimony deals with the need to change the stereotype of the
engineer and inform girls and those who influence them about engineering
as an exciting career opportunity. He sees opportunities for partnerships
with industry in implementing programs to do so. The NAE spent over
$450,000 since 1997 on efforts related to women in engineering.

Etta Wharton Consulting 39


January 15, 2001
APPENDIX D.3

ANNOTATION OF PAPERS

CAREER CHOICES OF GIRLS

Frize, M., Impact of a Gender-Balanced Summer Engineering and Science Program on


Future Course and Career Choices., Presented at the WEPAN Conference, Seattle,
Washington, July 1998. , Retrieved from the World Wide Web, September 26, 2000,
http://www.carleton.ca/wise/WEPAN98.htm

A survey of students and parents of students (grades 5-8) who participated


in the science and engineering summer camp (Worlds Unbound) at the
University of New Brunswick on the influence of the camp on their future
choice of school subject and perception of their abilities in science and
math. This camp was run on a gender-balanced (50-50 basis). The camp
influenced both girls and boys positively but girls were more likely to
report a strong influence on their choice of courses in high school and
their perception of their ability to do math and science at school.

Frize, M., Long, R., Moore, S., Satterthwaite, G., Pinnocchio's Nose, the Long and Short
of it: A Special Day for Grade 10 Female Students at Nortel., Presented at the 11th
Canadian Conference on Engineering Education, July 5-7, 1998, Dalhousie University,
Halifax, N.S., Retrieved from the World Wide Web, January 9, 2001.
http://www.carleton.ca/wise/c2e298.pap.htm

A description of a half-day event designed to give Grade 10 girls


information about science and engineering using fun hands-on activities.
The paper describes the event and its components and also gives valuable
information about the impact it had on the participants. In addition to
information from a questionnaire about whether they enjoyed the event
and whether it had an impact on their knowledge, courses they would take
in high school and career choices, follow-up with the school indicated that
80% of the participants had signed-up for the advanced level science
courses in their grade 11 courses. Although there was no comparison with
a control group, this paper shows that even short intervention programs
can have a positive impact.

In Their Nature, Compelling Reasons to Engage Girls in Science., Retrieved from the
World Wide Web, September 22, 2000. http://www.awsem.com/gnature.html

A good summary of the biases girls face during primary and secondary
education that inhibit them from pursuing careers in science and
engineering. The statements are backed up from cited research and the
paper contains a good bibliography. After identifying the issues, it
recommends a number of interventions that can bridge the gender gap,

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January 15, 2001
APPENDIX D.3
including mentors, role models, changes to teaching and materials and
advocacy.

Lupart, J.L., Cannon, M.E. (2000), Gender Differences in Junior High School Students
Towards Future Plans and Career Choices. Presented at the CCWEST Conference for the
Advancement of Women in Engineering, Science and Technology, St. John’s,
Newfoundland, July 6-8, 2000.

This paper reports on preliminary findings of what will be a multi-year,


multi-phased major study of approximately 2000 female and male junior
and senior high school students. Issues such as personal and educational
factors that contribute to participation and high achievement in the
sciences and the factors that contribute to decisions to pursue careers in
science and related programs are being investigated. This first report deals
with a sub-section of about 600 Grade 7 students. Though students of both
genders say they like computers and are good at using them, there is a
statistically significant difference with the responses of boys’ higher than
that of girls. Boys also use computers significantly more than girls for
most listed activities. It is intriguing that the liking and use of Technology
is not borne out by the girls’ career choices where Information
Technology did not rate in their top six choices while it was the number
one choice of boys. Science or math-related professional (like engineer)
rated third among boys and sixth among girls. Even this preliminary
paper contains a number of interesting findings on characteristics of the
kind of job the students will like, future plans, careers choices and
perceptions of adult roles in society and suggests that much useful
information will come out of the overall project.

McDill, M., Mills, S., Henderson, Y., Tracking the Gender Barrier: A 1990’s Follow-up
Study., Presented at the 8th CCWEST Conference, July 6-8, 2000, St. John’s
Newfoundland. Retrieved from the World Wide Web October 20, 2000.
http://www.mun.ca/cwse/events_nfnt.html

Data on participation by over 52,000 boys and girls in science and


engineering camps and minicourses held at universities was analyzed and
data collected in the 1990’s was compared to that in a previous study using
data from the 1980’s. It was found that in science the gender barrier which
existed in the 1980’s had been virtually eliminated, while that for
engineering still existed though it has decreased somewhat. Female
participation was higher for engineering subjects such as interior design,
environmental engineering and chemical engineering and lower for
computer-related subjects and electrical engineering. The importance of
finding ways to relate the subjects to the interests of girls was demonstrated
by the fact that simply renaming the engineering courses to a less traditional
form was associated with improved participation.

Etta Wharton Consulting 41


January 15, 2001
APPENDIX D.3

McMurdy, D., Gender And The Numbers: Women Still Shy Away From Math And
Science. Special Report: Measuring Excellence) Full Text Source: Maclean’s, Nov. 9,
1992 v.105 n45 p.64. Retrieved September 11, 2000 from the World Wide Web.
http://www.maryflanagan.com/josie/articles/archive/gender/htm

A popular look at issues affecting the attitudes of girls towards math and
science and their lower enrollment in engineering programs. The article
discusses the effects of teaching and the poor quality of math teaching in
the lower grades. It also addresses stereotypes of engineers and the way
that affects prospective female students especially as compared with
stereotypes of other professions as ones that help people. It is fairly
thorough with quotes from a number of Canadian experts and women
engineers who have been and continue to be doing work on the subject.

Sherriff, B.L., Binkley, L., The Irreconcilable Images Of Women, Science And
Engineering: A Manitoban Program That Is Shattering The Stereotypes. Journal of
Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering, Vol. # pp. 21-36, 1997.

The first part of this paper is a survey of work on image and culture as
they affect girls’ perception of their mathematical and scientific abilities
and interests and their learning and career choices. This is a thorough re-
iteration of issues and includes an extensive bibliography. The second part
describes two Manitoba programs. Access WISE uses women engineering
students to make presentations on science and engineering to students
from grades 3 to 12. Interesting aspects include paying the presenters for
their work and using presenters from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds
with some efforts to match that to the backgrounds of the audiences.
PRIME Access is an unusual program as it focuses on mature women
returning to university.

Vickers, M.H., Ching, H.L., Dean, C.B., Do Science Promotion Programs Make a
Difference, Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology, Proceedings, More
Than Just Numbers Conference, University of New Brunswick.

Report of a survey of over 1500 students taking first-year calculus at eight


universities and colleges in British Columbia on the effect of science
promotion activities on the career choices of the students. Gender
similarities and differences are reported on. Over 70% of students had
participated in one of more of 15 listed out-of-school science programs.
The participation rate for women was significantly higher than that for
men. The most influential program for women was a one-week ‘hands on’
science program for girls aged 9 – 11, i.e. an experience which these
students had experienced at least seven years prior to this survey. Men
were also influenced by summer science programs and both sexes said that
the Shad Valley program influenced their choice of career.

Etta Wharton Consulting 42


January 15, 2001
APPENDIX D.3

Weckman, E.J., Jewkes, E., Lennox, W.C., Creating A Women-Friendly Environment:


Perspective From A Large Institution. Proceedings, More Than Just Numbers
Conference, University of New Brunswick, pp. 88-93, 1995.

Description of the initiatives undertaken by the University of Waterloo in


response to the recommendations of the Canadian Committee on Women
in Engineering. It describes a number of programs that are delivered by
volunteers and are directed at girls from Grades 3 to OAC, their teachers,
parents and counselors. It also describes initiatives at the university
including compulsory content on harassment in all teaching assistant
training workshops and inclusion of a harassment module in the Ethics
section of the introductory Engineering Concepts course. Mentoring and
networking activities for women were initially well received but
participation declined due to ‘an underlying reticence on the part of the
first and second year students to being perceived as “singled-out” by their
male peers’.

Etta Wharton Consulting 43


January 15, 2001
APPENDIX D.4

ANNOTATION OF PAPERS

RECRUITMENT PROGRAMS

Anderson, I.J.T., Issues in Recruitment and Retention of Female Engineering Students.


Presented at the Women and Other Faces in Science Conference, Saskatoon, September
27, 1996. Retrieved from the World Wide Web, September 29, 2000.
http://www.ccwest.org/english/word/anderson.html

A review of theories, with references, about possible factors that influence


or prevent women from studying engineering. Education data from the
Saskatchewan school system is used to support or refute some of these
arguments with regards to engineering students at the College of
Engineering, University of Saskatchewan. Programs to recruit, retain and
create a woman-friendly environment at several Canadian universities are
described. The higher rate of attrition of women engineering students at
the University of Saskatchewan is stated but there is no analysis of the
reasons why.

Armour, N., The Hypatia Project: Promoting Nova Scotia Women in Science and
Technology, Presented at the 8th CCWEST Conference, July 6-8, 2000, St. John’s,
Newfoundland. Retrieved from the World Wide Web, October 20, 2000.
http://mun.ca/cwse/events_nfnt.html

This paper describes the start-up of an ambitious project to increase the


number of women participating in science and technology in Nova Scotia.
The project will attempt to integrate initiatives in four program areas –
School System, Post Secondary Education, Workplaces, and Communities
and will involve the partnership of business and industry, government,
education institutions and communities. . An important underpinning of
its philosophy is the recognition that systemic barriers that exist
throughout society affect the participation of women in science and
technology and that they cannot be addressed through isolated,
unconnected programs. Each program will begin with an equity audit,
followed by an implementation plan that addresses the findings. The
emphasis of this program is on long-term impact and therefore systemic
change is seen to be essential to the sustainability of the Project.

Ball, D., Onoral, B., Schadler, L., GOES (Girls’ Opportunities in Engineering and
Sciences) Model Project NSF #HRD9453683 – Progress Report, 1995. Retrieved from
the World Wide Web, September 25, 2000.
http://www.ece.drexel.edu/wie/projects/goes/progressreport/progressreport.html

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January 15, 2001
APPENDIX D.4
This report describes a Drexel University project aimed at bringing
information about what engineers do and the opportunities provided by the
engineering profession to girls in grades 6 to 9. The one-day program is
delivered at the school and has hands-on activities related to major
engineering fields as well as information handouts, videos, and contests.
Aspects of the program, response of the audience, and refinements are
detailed. Although there is no evaluation information with respect to the
impact of the program on participants subsequent subject choices for
example, their awareness and knowledge of engineering pre and post
session is commented on. One interesting finding is that there was as
much enthusiasm for the day when all girls were required to go as when
they were allowed to self-select. This was important given that the
objective was to present engineering as a career option for all girls and not
only those predisposed to science and math.

Daniels, J.Z., Warren, M., Increasing The Effectiveness Of General Engineering


Recruitment Strategies (Lessons Learned From The Women In Engineering Programs At
Purdue University). Retrieved September 26, 2000 from the World Wide Web:
http://onlineethics.org/ecsel/abstracts/zimmer.html

This paper outlines a reversal of the usual situation of programs directed at


recruiting women as add-ons to general recruiting. To counter declining
overall enrollments, program elements from the successful Purdue Women
in Engineering Program were incorporated into general recruiting sessions
for high school seniors. Evaluations from this approach showed that
attendees were more than twice as likely to say that the possibility of their
attending Purdue had increased greatly when compared to evaluations
taken at previous sessions using their conventional recruitment approach.

Gilbride, K.A., Gudz, N.A., Outreach Programs for Young Women in High School,
Presented at the 8th CCWEST Conference, July 6-8, 2000, St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Retrieved from the World Wide Web, October 20, 2000.
http://www.mun.ca/cwse/events_nfnt.html

The initiative described here is an extension of the weeklong ‘Discover


Engineering’ Camp for girls which has been run at Ryerson for 10 years.
This workshop takes information about engineering, what engineers do
and a hands on activity into the classroom (Grades 10-13) to try to reach
more students than can be accommodated by the camp. Unlike the camp,
the workshop is co-ed but uses women presenters to act as role models and
help change stereotypical perceptions held by both male and female
students. Questionnaires about interest in engineering and perceptions
were administered before the workshop and evaluations completed
afterwards. Before the session, a much higher percentage of male students
than female students said they were interested in becoming an engineer

Etta Wharton Consulting 45


January 15, 2001
APPENDIX D.4
and knew what engineers did. Overall before the workshop, 24.5% of
students wanted to become an engineer. After the workshop, 41.9% said
they would consider investigating engineering as a career option.
Although the data from the questionnaires could be analyzed by gender,
that from the evaluations could not, and therefore the degree of change in
attitude among female participants cannot be quantified. This will be
rectified in any future programs.

Gilbride, K., Kennedy, D., Waalen, J., Zywno, M. Discover Engineering – A Strategy for
Attracting Women into Engineering. Proceedings, Canadian Society of Mechanical
Engineers Forum, Annual Conference of the Society of Mechanical Engineers, Ryerson
Polytechnic University, May 1998. Available from the authors, Ryerson Polytechnic
University.

A number of papers have been written about this camp as a strategy for
recruiting women into engineering. There is some repetition here about
program specifics, but the value lies in the data extracting from the
evaluation surveys and follow-ups conducted with participants in the years
following their camp experience. This paper gives data on the impact of
various influences on decisions regarding school and career and their
exposure to certain negative attitudes about women and science.

Hiscocks, P.D., Implementing An Engineering Summer Camp. Proceedings of the


Seventh International Gender and Science and Technology (GASAT) Conference, July
31 – Aug. 5, 1993, University of Waterloo.

A description of the Ryerson Polytechnic University’s ‘Discover


Engineering’ Camp, an engineering recruitment project aimed at women
senior high school students. This one-week camp offers hands-on
opportunities in a variety of engineering subjects. Unlike projects for
younger girls this project attempts to capitalize on reaching young women
just prior to university program selection and encouraging those who have
the necessary background to consider and choose engineering. This is
consistent with the program’s objectives not only of making girls’ aware
of engineering but also of actually increasing the number of women
studying engineering. This paper offers insightful and useful suggestions
on positioning projects, obtaining funding, promoting the program and
getting buy-in and participation by the university, industry, the school
system, and individuals.

Hiscocks, P.D., Zywno, M.S., Discover Engineering Summer Camp for High School
Girls at Ryerson Polytechnic University – A Recruitment Strategy that Works. Retrieved
from the World Wide Web September 5, 2000.
http://www.ccwest.org/english/word/Ryerson_conf_pap.html

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January 15, 2001
APPENDIX D.4
As well as details, including program specifics and curriculum, of the
Ryerson ‘Discover Engineering Camp’, this paper gives background and
data on enrollment trends of women in engineering programs in Ontario
and identifies a number of factors which contribute to the relatively small
number of women who become engineers. Elements of a successful
initiative are also identified and program management given. This project
offers significant value as a model because of is its relative longevity,
seven years at the time of writing, and its extensive evaluations, follow-
ups and tracking. Patterns of camp attendance by school location and type
have been followed and interesting observations made about class and the
impact of single sex schools. Evaluations and follow-ups have tracked not
only the girls’ views on whether the camp influenced their career choices
but also their actual decisions on university programs. Of 700 students
who attended the camp, approximately 400 women (almost 60%) went on
to study engineering at university. This type of well-defined and tracked
impact data is relatively rare.

Irvine-Halliday, D., Nowicki, E., Summary of WIEC and Faculty of Engineering


Proactiveness, University of Calgary, March 30, 1995. Retrieved from the World Wide
Web June 26, 2000. http://www.carleton.ca/wise/webmtjn95/UNISUMM.html

A summary of Women in Engineering Committee activities at the


University of Calgary, where one of their objectives is to increase the
number of women in the Ph.D. program. The paper also emphasizes the
differences when such programs are lead by a proactive Dean.

MacDonald, T.L., Junior High Female Role Model Intervention Improves Science
Persistence and Attitudes in Girls Over Time, Presented at the 8 TH CCWEST Conference,
July 6-8, 2000, St. John’s, Newfoundland. Retrieved from the World Wide Web.
http://www.mun.ca/cwse/events_nfnt.html

Operation Minerva is a two-day science intervention program that


provides girls in junior high school with an opportunity to job shadow a
woman scientist and to participate in a science workshop. In 1997, those
who participated in 1991 were surveyed to determine what impact the
program had on their subsequent selection of subjects in secondary and
post-secondary schooling and what impact it had on their future career
choices. The study found that the participants maintained very positive
attitudes towards women in science careers over time; that they pursued a
high number of science courses (as defined in the study) at the secondary
level; and at least one science course at the post-secondary level; and that
a high number would consider a future science career. The paper notes
that the findings would be strengthened if they could be compared to a
control group who were not exposed to a role model intervention program.

Etta Wharton Consulting 47


January 15, 2001
APPENDIX D.4

Sheppard, K.M., An Evaluation of The Women in Science and Engineering Summer


Employment Program, Presented at the 8th CCWEST Conference, July 6-8, 2000, St.
John’s, Newfoundland. Retrieved from the World Wide Web, October 20, 2000.
http://www.mun.ca/cwse/events_nfnt.html

The summer employment program described here offers summer job


opportunities for female high school students to act as research assistants
in the various science and engineering laboratories at Memorial
University. Questionnaires were administered to those who participated in
1994 and 1997 as well as to a ‘control’ group of applicants who were not
selected to the program. Questions related to the effect of the program on
career choices, attitudes to science and engineering, and affect on their
selection of courses in high school. Those involved in the study showed
positive attitudes towards careers in science and engineering, some of
which were significantly enhanced after participation in the program. Life
sciences and health related careers were the primary scientific careers
attracting the respondents but the program did result in an increase in the
number of girls who aspired to engineering.

Waxer, C., Electrical Engineering Fails to Snare Wired Women, The Globe and Mail,
August 19, 1999. Retrieved from the World Wide Web.
http://www.ee.ryerson.ca:8080?
~womeng/wiec/news/trailblazers/Globe_Mail/globe_08_99.htlm

A journalistic report on the low numbers of women in electrical


engineering with quotes from women electrical engineers who have had
either negative or positive experiences in the workplace. Several
Canadian engineering professors give their reasons for these low numbers
including a view that these statistics say more about women’s professional
strengths than archaic attitudes as technically skilled women tend to
concentrate in business-oriented areas of technology.

Weckman, E.J., Jewkes, E., Lennox, W.C., Creating a Women-Friendly Environment:


Perspective from a Large Institution, Women in Engineering Committee, University of
Waterloo, Undated. Retrieved from the World Wide Web, September 25, 2000.
http://www.eng.uwaterloo.ca/~w-in-eng/wiepaper.htm

A report on initiatives taken by the University of Waterloo in response to


the recommendations of the ‘More Than Just Numbers’ Report of 1992.
Representation of women undergraduates, graduates and faculty is given
for 1991, 1994 and 1997. A number of initiatives are described including
outreach to primary and secondary schools, networking events, and
mentoring activities. The University of Waterloo also implemented a
mandatory sensitization program on harassment for all teaching assistants

Etta Wharton Consulting 48


January 15, 2001
APPENDIX D.4
and introduced a module on harassment into the first year Ethics section of
the introductory Engineering Concepts course.

Williams L., Three Women in Engineering Projects at Ryerson Polytechnic University.


Final Report for the Canadian Engineering Memorial Foundation, 1996/97 Graduate
Scholarship. Retrieved from the World Wide Web October 1, 2000.
http://www.ee.ryerson.ca:8080/~womeneng/wiec/news/wie_news/CEMFreport/intro.html

Three women in engineering projects are described. The Job Shadow


project matched engineering students with practicing women engineers for
a half day of job shadowing. The Student Phone Calling Project contacted
women high school students who had been accepted to Ryerson’s
Engineering programs during the university acceptance period to answer
their questions about engineering and Ryerson. The Discover Engineering
Summer Camp is an on-going Ryerson initiative for senior high-school
girls. Extensive evaluations of all the projects are given in this report. In
the first two cases, which were planned to utilize volunteer labour, it was
found that the extensive work required to make them successful essentially
defaulted to the Women in Engineering Co-ordinator, a half-time paid
position. The Discover Engineering Camp pays all staff involved and has
not had this problem.

Etta Wharton Consulting 49


January 15, 2001
APPENDIX D.5

ANNOTATION OF PAPERS

CLIMATE AND BARRIERS IN ENGINEERING FACULTIES

Brainard, S.G., Huang, P. University of Washington Climate Survey, Exploring the


Environment for Undergraduate Engineering Students, October 1999. Retrieved from the
World Wide Web, November 14, 2000. www.engr.washington.edu~uwise/

The University of Washington developed an instrument and surveyed the


climate in engineering on an annual basis since 1992. The WEPAN
national pilot survey was modeled on this work. This paper reports on the
results of the national survey at the University of Washington. Findings
consistent with the national findings include greater comfort expressed by
men in the use of lab equipment and significantly more confidence
expressed by men in their abilities in engineering and physics courses in
the upper years. Specific findings for UW are also reported. The report
notes that the average ratings by all students for each item suggested that
all students perceived their experiences to be rather mediocre indicating
proposing solutions to problems faced by women might provide an
opportunity for the improvement of experiences for all students.

Brainard, S.G., Metz, S.S., Gillmore, G.M., WEPAN Pilot Climate Survey, Exploring the
Environment for Undergraduate Engineering Students. Retrieved from the World Wide
Web, Nov. 14, 2000. http://wepan.org/climate.html

A method to assess engineering student perceptions of the educational


climate was developed and administered in 29 American universities.
Over 8000 male and female undergraduates responded. This paper reports
on aggregate data for all the schools. It identifies a significant difference
in overall academic self-confidence between men and women. Women
reported no differences in confidence in mathematics and chemistry but
significant differences in physics and engineering courses. Women also
rated their comfort level with lab equipment lower than did the men at
each class level. Men also showed more confidence in their choice of
major. Individual universities can tailor this instrument and analyze their
institution specific results. Although a survey of this type does not
identify the reasons why these differences exist, this information is useful
for reviews of engineering climate and teaching strategies.

Dyck, L.E., Stages in the Path to Equity for Women Faculty in Science Departments,
Presented at the 7th CCWEST Conference, Vancouver, B.C., May 21-23, 1998. Retrieved
from the World Wide Web, September 29, 2000.
http://www.ccwest.org/english/word/Lillian_Dyck_conf_paper.html

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January 15, 2001
APPENDIX D.5
Using the work of Rosser and work by Miller and Katz on the
development of organizations from monocultural to inclusive, the author
describes her career as an academic scientist and relates both science
institutions and her personal experiences over time to the stages identified.
The many examples given from her own experience and those of other
women academics in science illustrate how systemic barriers operate, how
they are eliminated and the degree to which they still exist.

Etzkowitz, H., Kemelgor, C., Neuschatz, M., Ussi, B., Barriers to Women in Academic
Science and Engineering, in Who Will Do Science? Educating the Next Generation, ed.
Pearson, W., Fechter, I., Baltimore Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994. Retrieved
from the World Wide Web, September 29, 2000.
http://www.ai.mit.edu/people/ellens/Gender?EKNU.html

A detailed description of the findings of a study of the conditions under


which women are at a disadvantage during their doctoral training and
early stages of their academic careers in science and engineering
departments. This paper is rich with details and stories and indicates that
to a large degree a male, not gender neutral, culture exists and persists in
these departments. Barriers were found to exist at all levels, not only at the
threshold or at a glass ceiling as has been postulated by some. Issues of
trying to balance or even have a family life in conjunction with one as an
academic scientist are dealt with at some length. There are a number of
useful recommendations which would make a difference though the
degree to which they require substantial attitudinal and institutional
change make it unlikely that they will be easily attained. Of particular
interest to the issues of undergraduate engineering education is the data
about women leaving these streams thus reducing the numbers of possible
role models and mentors for women at a time when even more are needed.

Hewitt, N.M., Seymour, E., Factors Contributing to High Attrition Rates Among Science
and Engineering undergraduate Majors, Ethnography and Assessment Research Bureau
of Sociological Research, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, April 26, 1991,
Abstracted by The Online Ethics Center, Retrieved from the World Wide Web, June 26,
2000. http://www.onlineethics.org/ecsel/abstracts/attrition-women.html

This study found that although women tended to begin science and
engineering studies on an equal, if not elevated, footing compared to men,
they encountered more problems than their male counterparts during the
course of their studies. Women were particularly concerned about the
approachability of faculty and the quality of their interactions with faculty
from a learning and support perspective. Women rarely reported overt
sexism but were concerned about subtle messages that made them feel that
they were outsiders in a male-dominated culture. Structural features of
science and engineering culture that tended to discriminate against women

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January 15, 2001
APPENDIX D.5
included lack of female mentors and role models and an “old-boy’s”
network that drew promising male students into research projects and
mentored relationships with faculty. One interesting finding was that
many promising women students were lavished with support in high
school and may have interpreted the more distant relationship in university
as a form of faculty discrimination.

Levenson, N.G., Educational Pipeline Issues for Women, Panel Presentation CRA
Snowbird meeting on educational pipeline issues for women, July 1990. Retrieved from
the World Wide Web, October 10, 2000.
http://www.ai.mit.edu/people/ellens/Gender/pipeline.html

Although this paper deals specifically with issues affecting women


undergraduates, graduates and faculty in computer science, the forms of
systemic discrimination it describes are relevant to the education of
women in science and engineering more generally. Very good
descriptions of how subtle behaviors affect the self-esteem and confidence
of women students and the impact this has on their decisions to pursue
graduate studies and academic careers. Behaviors, by university professors
such as not calling on women students, and not accepting ideas from them
are analogous to those which have been much studied in lower school
teachers and are just as likely to be unrecognized by the instructor. The
paper also deals with institutional issues such as who gets funding and
mentoring.

Madden M., Women Engineering Students Speak, University of Maine, August 17, 1999.
Retrieved from the World Wide Web, September 12, 2000.
http://www.eece.maine.edu/ecews/Women_Engineers_Summary.htm

A report of the results of focus groups with women engineering students at


the University of Maine on the topics of how they choose engineering,
their experiences at the university and during their work placements.
More confirmatory evidence that even when women engineering students
experience dismissal of their ideas, frequent requirements to ‘prove
themselves worthy’ and gender and sexual harassment, they tend not to
name the situation as discriminatory and do not recognize the systemic
nature of the issues they face.

McDill, J.M.J., Frize, M., Students in Crisis, paper presented at the WEPAN98
Conference. Received through private correspondence from the authors.

This paper gives advice to engineering professors on counseling and


advising students who present difficult personal issues. Recognizing that
engineering professors are not often trained counselors, it identifies other

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APPENDIX D.5
resources that are usually available in a university and outlines a process
for proceeding when presented with a problem by a student. A number of
case studies are used to illustrate how the authors dealt with problems
related to family conflict, financial difficulties and harassment and assault
by fellow students.

Munshi, A., Identifying the Gaps: Improving Engineering Programs for Undergraduate
Women Engineering Students, 1999. Retrieved from the World Wide Web, September 5,
2000. http://www.math.mcmaster.ca/~projects/alpna.html

This paper appears to be a student research essay done at McMaster


University. The findings are based on enrollment data and interviews
with faculty and students. Women faculty to act as role models, gender-
equity committees and a regular support network for female engineering
students are identified as resources needed to positively affect the gender
imbalance and decrease the discomfort of some women engineering
students.

Spertus, E., Why are There so Few Female Computer Scientists?, MIT Artificial
Intelligence Laboratory Technical Report 1315, 1991. Retrieved from the World Wide
Web September 11, 2000. http://www.ai.mit.edu.people/ellens/Gender/pap/pap.html

This long and thorough paper looks at a number of gender issue factors as
they relate specifically to computer science and computer engineering
education, the academy and the workplace. Among the topics examined
are stereotyping, the masculine environment, gender in language, and
problems with solutions. It also makes a number of recommendations and
conclusions. A very extensive bibliography is included. The value of this
paper comes not only from its systematic treatment of the subject but from
the wealth of examples, all from computer science and engineering
situations, used to illustrate the points. These examples either come from
previous research or were gathered by the author in the course of this
work. The examples provide real-life illustrations of many of the more
subtle forms of exclusion and different treatment. Professors of computer
science and engineering will find ample content for personal reflection and
the examples would be useful in gender-issue discussions and classes.
This is a very readable paper.

Tietjen, J.S., WIEP Report: Pilot Climate Survey Results, University of Colorado at
Boulder, July, 23, 1998. Retrieved from the World Wide Web, September 29, 2000.
http:/www.colorado.edu/engineering/WIEP/reports/climate.htm

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APPENDIX D.5
This paper contains the results of the analysis of the results of the WEPAN
Pilot Climate Survey for the University of Colorado at Boulder. Overall
very few significant differences were found by gender or ethnicity,
however a number of questions did evoke statistically different responses
between men and women. Women were more satisfied with the assistance
they received out of class but were much less comfortable in asking
questions in class. Women were much more likely to be involved in study
groups. Women reported significantly less confidence in their college
physics courses and than men. They were also more influenced by others
to seek an engineering degree than were men.

Tonso, K.L., Violence(s) and Silence(s) in Engineering Classrooms, Advancing Women


in Leadership Journal, Volume 1, Number 1, Spring 1997. Retrieved from the World
Wide Web September 5, 2000.
http://www.advancingwomen.com/awl/spring97/awlv1_02.html

The author uses observations of mixed teams of engineering students and


her own experiences to describe the ways in which silence and
acquiescence to male cultural norms becomes a survival technique for
women engineering students. She argues that women carry the burden of
fitting into engineering’s prototypically masculine culture yet often deny
what they have had to do to fit in. This does violence to women using the
definition of violence as desecration and profanation (of their experiences
as women). The author uses stronger language than many women
engineers would likely feel comfortable with, a fact consistent with her
thesis, but provides a useful feminist perspective and analysis of a
common phenomenon among women engineering students.

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January 15, 2001
APPENDIX D.6

ANNOTATION OF PAPERS

UNDERGRADUATE ENGINEERING EDUCATION

Anderson, I.J.T., If the Pipeline is Leaking, Must the Leak be Plugged? Issues in Attrition
From Engineering Education, Presented at CCWEST (Canadian Coalition of Women in
Engineering, Science and Technology), 1998. Retrieved from the World Wide Web,
September 29, 2000. http://www.ccwest.org/english/word/Anderson_conf_paper.html

Results of interviews with men and women who left engineering for other
studies at the University of Saskatchewan. Although the number of
students in the study is small, some interesting gender differences were
noted. Men were more likely than women to continue their studies within
the area of math and science. Women displayed more diversity in their
subsequent choices. Some students, especially women, found the
engineering culture uncomfortable. The paper also includes a passionate
plea and rationale for replacing ‘the leaky pipeline’ metaphor with a more
positive one, calling it elitist, arrogant and sexist.

Beder, S., Towards a More Representative Engineering Education, International Journal


of Applied Engineering Education, vol.5, no.2, 1989, pp. 173-182. Retrieved from the
World Wide Web, September 29, 2000.
http://www.uow.edu.au/arts/sts/sbeder/education2.html

This paper, with its extensive bibliography presents a fascinating


viewpoint of engineering education. A case is made that the current
approach to engineering education results from historical efforts to
establish engineering as a science and a profession as distinct from a trade.
This has resulted in an emphasis on mathematics and theoretical sciences
to an extent out of proportion to the actual needs of most people practicing
as engineers. The technical systems of engineering have been emphasized
almost exclusively with very little inclusion of engineering as a social
system. Needs to keep curriculum content up to date with technological
innovation have filled the timetable to the extent that little time is
available for creative or challenging thought. The author contends that
this results in considerable uniformity in the type of person who studies
engineering. Students with broader interests; a different range of talents;
those who want to work with people and those who care about social
relations are put off engineering studies, though these are attributes that
many senior engineers feel are now more necessary than ever. Many
female students are among those put off for these reasons. This is a useful
paper that questions some fundamental assumptions about engineering
education that are seldom questioned.

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APPENDIX D.6
Biedermann, J., Chisholm, P., What Do We Do Now?, University of Guelph.
Retrieved from the World Wide Web, June 26, 2000.
http://www.carleton.ca/wise/webmtjn95/UNIWHAT/html

The University of Guelph is unique in Canada in that over 40% of its


engineering students are women. This paper explains why many of its
programs seem to be particularly attractive to women. Concern is
expressed about those disciplines that have much lower enrollment of
women such as water resource engineering and in particular engineering
systems and computing. Issues are raised about the possible future
experiences of Guelph women graduates as they enter workplaces that are
not as gender balanced as their classes. These will be monitored through
post-graduate surveys.

Felder, R., Felder G., Mauncey, M., Harmrin C., Dietz, J., A Longitudinal Study of
Engineering Student Performance and Retention: Gender Differences in Student
Performance and Attitudes, Journal of Engineering Education. April 1995 pp.151-163.
Abstracted by the Online Ethics Center. Retrieved from the World Wide September 26,
2000. http://onlineethics.org/ecsel/abstracts/genderdif.html?mode=text

The approaches of men and women to their course work and how they
dealt with academic difficulty were compared. Women tended to
underestimate their abilities and their expectations decreased with time.
Another finding that men externalized their difficulties and women
internalized them with some interesting implications for the reactions of
students to group work in mixed gender groups. They also found that
women were more likely to switch out of (chemical) engineering in spite
of good academic standing.

Heidebrecht, A. et al, Evolution of Engineering Education in Canada, A Report of the


Canadian Academy of Engineering prepared by a task force chaired by Dr. Arthur
Heidebrecht FCAE, December 1999. Retrieved from the World Wide Web, November
15, 2000. http://www.acad-eng-gen.ca/publis/Evolution_a.html

This proposal calls for evolutionary change to engineering education in


Canada and focuses on the further broadening of engineering education. It
recommends that breadth of learning beyond technical aspects of the
specialist engineering discipline, be a major thrust; that engineering
faculties emphasize the development of learning skills; that faculty
members have the vision, values and behaviours needed for their evolving
role; that research in engineering faculties should be characterized by
excellence, by relevance to industrial and social issues; and that
engineering faculties should participate in providing liberal education
opportunities for all university students, and in improving the
technological literacy of the general public. For a document with
considerable vision, it is unfortunate that it does not address the changing

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APPENDIX D.6
population of engineering students and makes no references to any
changes that would either recognize or benefit this diverse population or
encourage students who have not previously been part of the engineering
mainstream, like women, to choose engineering studies.

Himmelman, J., Marks. T., Knowles, P., Epp, J., Retention Rates of (Women) Canada
Scholars in Science and Engineering at Lakehead University. Report Submitted to
Senate, January 24, 1994. Retrieved from the World Wide Web September 12, 2000
http://www.lakeheadu.ca/~lusec/minutes/s94-0105.htm

Focus groups were held to gather information about why women Canada
Scholars at Lakehead University were losing their scholarships at a rate
greater than the national average. A number of issues related to stress,
workload, ‘chilly climate’, insufficient support groups and transition shock
were identified. Some of these seemed directly related to learning style
and environment preferences of women and might be considered a
systemic barrier. The report includes recommendations for change.

Report on the Status of Women InGEAR, Georgia Institute of Technology, December


1998. Retrieved from the World Wide Web October 19, 2000.
www.academic.gatech.edu/study/

A comprehensive analysis of many facets of the status of women


applicants, students, and faculty at the Georgia Institute of Technology. A
lot of information about the College of Education is included. The report
details many demographic indicators for both students and faculty such as
retention rates of students and promotion and tenure rates for faculty. It
also assesses institutional resources that affect women and campus climate
and makes recommendations for institutional change. A good example of
the depth of issues that must be examined and analyzed to assess the status
of women at a university and the kind of institutional requirements needed
to affect this status. Interestingly this self-analysis study was a
requirement of National Science Foundation funding for Georgia Tech to
be the lead institution in a consortium of Georgia schools seeking to create
models for scientific and technology education that enhanced gender
equity in these fields.

Rosati, P.S., Gender Differences in the Learning Preferences of Engineering Students.


Women in Engineering Division, ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings (CD ROM),
1997

Analysis of the test results of over 800 engineering undergraduates using


an instrument called the Index of Learning Styles (ILS) which was still
underdevelopment at the time of this paper. It found considerable
similarity in the learning styles of male and female engineering students

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APPENDIX D.6
with some differences in degree. A preliminary look using a single
instrument with perhaps the most important conclusion being a call for the
recognition that there are multiple learning styles in every engineering
classroom and for adaptation of teaching styles accordingly, especially as
lectures are largely Verbal while most engineering students are largely
Visual learners.

Rosati, P., Graduation in Engineering Related to Personality Type and Gender. Women
in Engineering Division, ASEE Annual Conference Proceeding, Session 1691 (CD
ROM), 1999.

The personality types of a seven year cohort of engineering students at the


University of Western were determined using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
(MBTI). This paper summarizes data on choice of discipline, attrition and
graduation results for both male and female students. Use of the Myers-Briggs
instrument does tend to show that there is an engineering ‘type’ with exceptions
of course. Data from this work shows that even though women engineering
students are more likely than men to have ‘counter-type’ personality indicators
they graduated at a rate higher than men, while men with the ‘counter-type’
personality indicators were more likely to withdraw or transfer. Some interesting
implications for retention especially as the ‘counter-type’ personality indicators
include ones which predispose students to be good communicators, outgoing,
creative and naturally attuned to consider the human aspects of any situation.

Rosati, P.A., Becker, L.M., Student Perspectives on Engineering. International Journal of


Engineering Education, Vol. 12, No. 4, 1997, pp. 250-256.

First and fourth year engineering students were surveyed on a number of


issues related to experiences pre-university, in engineering studies at
university and attitudes towards professional plans. Survey size was large
enough to allow statistical analysis. The paper discusses only those
questions with unexpected or significant differences in response either
between first and fourth year students or between male and female
students. Interesting discussion on a number of topics with some findings
consistent with and others contradicting other studies. One finding of
interest to those concerned with increasing the number of women in
engineering is that women make decisions to study engineering much later
than men, suggesting that even late intervention may be of benefit.
Women were more likely to find professors approachable and interested
than men and first-year students found them more approachable than those
in fourth years. Worth reading for the range of questions and the reasons
postulated for the findings.

Rosati, P.A., Surry, S., Female Perspectives of Engineering Education: A Qualitative


Assessment. International Journal of Engineering Education, Vol. 10, No. 2, 1994, pp.
164-170

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APPENDIX D.6

The sample size of this survey of first-year engineering students was too
small to allow for the application of tests of statistical significance.
However, qualitative analysis of the responses to open-ended questions
about the experience and program showed some interesting similarities
and differences between the responses of women and men students.
Among the most striking differences is one identifying the high degree of
influence by parents and teachers on the women’s decision to study
engineering compared to men. . Women were also more likely to
internalize difficulties they were having than men who tended to attribute
external reasons for their concerns. Issues related to overt sexism were of
equally little concern to both men and women.

Wallace, J.E., Haines, V.A., Cannon, M.E., Academic Choices of Engineering


Undergraduates, Final Grant Report to Imperial Oil, University of Calgary, April, 1999.

An extensive study of over 1000 University of Calgary undergraduate


engineering students. Many factors that led to their decisions to study
engineering and their experiences with math, physics and chemistry before
university and at university were examined. These included family
background, pre-university experiences, views of difficulty and
performance in math, physics and chemistry, influences on their decisions,
and factors affecting their choice of engineering department among others.
All variables were examined by gender. While there were a number of
statistically significant differences by gender the report concludes that
most of these may not be substantive, indicating a difference in degree
rather than kind. It does express concern about the perceptions of ability
and liking for physics which were lower for women in spite of their
performance being as good as that of men. As elsewhere, there were
significant differences in enrollment of men and women in the various
engineering departments at the University of Calgary. According to this
study the majority of engineering students choose their department of
specialization on the basis of their interest in the subject. Unfortunately
the closed-ended nature of the survey questions does not explain why this
results in disproportionate enrollment in engineering disciplines by women
and men. The report contains many other interesting comparisons.

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January 15, 2001
APPENDIX D.7

ANNOTATION OF PAPERS

UNDERGRADUATE RETENTION PROGRAMS

Anderson, V., Identifying Special Advising Needs of Women Engineering Students, The
Journal of College Student Development, July.August 1995. Abstracted by the Online
Ethics Center. , Retrieved from the World Wide Web, September 26, 2000.
http://onlineethics.org/ecsel/abstracts/academenv2.html?mode=text

A study of the advising needs of women engineering students for the


purpose of determining whether counseling services are meeting the needs
of diverse students. A number of barriers to the satisfaction and success of
women engineering students related to the routes by which they came to
study engineering were identified. Most students had little real information
about the practice of engineering when they chose to study it but those
who were influenced by an engineering role model or had conducted a
self-directed search for an appropriate career were less likely to have
problems in their program than those who accepted without question the
recommendation of a guidance counselor or mentor. The study found that
there was a need for a strong advising program when first entering
engineering studies.

Armour, M., Madill, H.M., Ciccocioppo, A., Stewin, L.L., Montgomerie, T.C.,
Fitzsimmons, G.W., It’s All About Retention, Presented at the 8th CCWEST Conference,
July 6-8, 2000, St. John’s Newfoundland. Retrieved from the World Wide Web, October
20, 2000. http://www.mun.ca/cwse/events.nfnt.html

Focus groups were held at six post-secondary institutions in Alberta to


study young women’s career decision making in science, engineering and
technology. Students in 2-year technical diploma programs and 2 year
college-based university transfer programs as well as those in
undergraduate and masters programs were included in the study. Content
analysis identified the following issues related to retention: the importance
of practical experience, the influence of teachers and parents, perception
of the learning environment, level of financial support, interpersonal
relationships and educational policies. The paper uses quotes from
participant experiences to illustrate these issues.

Brainard, S.G., A Curriculum for Training Mentors and Mentees., Retrieved from the
World Wide Web, September 29, 2000. http://www.wepan.org/mentoring.html

This paper describes the creation and contents of a training program to


increase the effectiveness of the mentoring relationship. It is based on
mentoring programs developed by the Women in Science and Engineering
Program at the University of Washington and consists of handbooks,

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APPENDIX D.7
facilitated guides and a video. The paper also gives data on the increase in
retention of women as a result of the WISE program and the very high
level (97%) of retention of women participating in the professional
mentoring program in contrast to the average nation retention rate
(American) of 55%.

Henes, R., Bland, M.M., Darby, J., McDonald, K., Improving the Academic Environment
for Women Engineering Students through Faculty Workshops, The Journal of
Engineering Education, January 1995. Abstracted by the Online Ethics Center.
Retrieved from the World Wide Web, September 26, 2000.
http://onlineethics.org/ecsel.abstracts/academenv.html?mode=text

This paper reports on the results of a survey of engineering students at the


University of California, Davis designed to try to explain the lower rates
of recruitment and retention of women students and on the delivery of two
faculty workshops which were designed to both raise awareness of gender
issues in the classroom and provide concrete ideas that faculty could use to
improve their teaching. Isolation, the inability to see the relevance of
highly theoretical basic courses, negative experiences in laboratory
courses, classroom climate and the lack of role models were identified as
the five major reasons for lower persistence of women in engineering.
The faculty workshops achieved high ratings from participating staff,
particularly the one that used interactive dramatizations as the vehicle for
addressing the barriers.

Hewitt, N.M., Seymour E., Factors Contributing to High Attrition Rates Among Science
and Engineering Undergraduate Majors, Ethnography and Assessment Research Bureau
of Sociological Research, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, April 26, 1991.
Retrieved from the World Wide Web, September 26, 2000
http://onlinethics.org/ecsel/abstracts/attrition-info.html?mode=text

This paper examines the similarities and differences between students who
switch out of science and engineering majors and those who remain. It
includes a section on ‘The Problems of Women in Science, Mathematics,
and Engineering’ and one on ‘Persistence Strategies’ as well as quotes
from students illustrating the findings. Those who switched and those
who did not were not very different in character or ability. They suffered
from many of the same problems but those who persisted were more likely
to use a variety of strategies to handle these problems. It also finds, as
have others, that though women tend to begin on an equal and often higher
footing than men in these courses, they encountered more problems during
the course of their studies. This paper offers some valuable insights to
those concerned with retention of women as it identifies how they define
problems related to teaching and support by professors.

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APPENDIX D.8

ANNOTATION OF PAPERS

WOMEN IN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING —


RELATED RESEARCH

Anderson, I.J.T., College Caretakers: Female Engineering Students as Volunteer


Recruiters, Presented at the 8th CCWEST Conference, July 6-8, 2000, St. John’s,
Newfoundland. Retrieved from the World Wide Web, October 20, 2000.
http://www.mun.ca/cwse/events_nfnt.html

This paper examines participation by male and female engineering


students in engineering activities at the University of Saskatchewan. The
Engineering Student’s Society has been dominated by male students.
Various outreach initiatives are organized almost exclusively by female
students making them essentially volunteer recruiters for the University.
While the women involved reported that the work taught them important
skills, was satisfying and performed an important service to the College of
Engineering, they paid a price in spending less time on their course work
which often resulted in lower grades. They received no payment for their
work and because of the time involved often took the longer and more
costly five-year course option to complete their programs. This paper
makes the point that the University reaped positive benefits at a very low
cost from this volunteer work but perpetuated the concept of gendered
division of labour. This ‘women’s work’ was largely unpaid and under-
funded and little status given to it compared to other student roles.

Brush, S.G., Women in Science and Engineering, American Scientist, Vol. 79, 1991 (404
– 419), Abstracted by the Online Ethics Center. , Retrieved from the World Wide Web,
September 26, 2000.
http://onlinethics.org/ecsel/abstracts/women-AmSci.html?mode=text

After a steady rise from 1960 to 1980 the number of women earning
science and engineering degrees unexpectedly reached a plateau in the
U.S. This paper looks at such reasons as stereotypes of scientists and
engineers, popular articles that state or imply women are inferior to men in
cognitive abilities needed for success in science, bias in the SAT which
underpredicts the performance of women compared to that of men,
inappropriate teachings methods, and sexism among others. A number of
remedies are suggested.

Eng, J.S., Engineering: In Need of a Makeover?, IEEE, The Institute, Women in


Engineering, March 1999. Retrieved from the World Wide Web September 25, 2000.
http://www.insitute.ieee.org/INST/mar99/women.html

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APPENDIX D.8
Information from a Harris Poll about how Americans view engineers and
how well informed they are about what engineers do informs the authors
viewpoint that the image of engineering needs work. She wants young
people to identify with the important inventions and societal advances that
result from the work of engineers thereby increasing their desire to
emulate them by becoming engineers. Among the findings of the Harris
Poll that she quotes is that only 20% of those polled thought engineering
was inclusive of women and minorities.

Hwu, J., Changing the Image of Engineers in America, IEEE, The Institute, Women in
Engineering, July 2000. Retrieved from the World Wide Web, September 25, 2000.
Http://www.institute.ieee.org/INST/jul2000/women.html

The author makes a case that social fitness is much emphasized in the
Western educational system and this causes youth to be overly conscious
of gender roles. She also feels that women are more concerned about what
people think about them and this coupled with a poor image of
engineering are factors which affect the number of women who choose to
study engineering. Hwu also mentions the status of engineering compared
to other professions and the difference accorded to engineering in the
West and in Asia where she was educated.

Lupart, J.L., Barva, C., Cannon, M.E., What Happens When Girls, Gifted in Science,
Grow Up? Presented at the CCWEST Conference for the Advancement of Women in
Engineering, Science and Technology, St. John’s Newfoundland, July 6 – 8, 2000.

This paper reports on the results of a study of male and female subjects
who were applicants and participants of the Shad Valley program for high
achieving high school students. A number of issues were explored
including categories of achievement, perception of how math/science
ability impacts participants’ lives, social influences, life satisfaction and
exciting/regretful experiences. A comparison of the responses of younger
and older women subjects was also made. A major objective of this study
is to avoid conventional deficit models of comparing male/female
achievements by using a model (Eccles) which focuses on the importance
of subjective task value in making achievement-related choices. The paper
notes a number of statistically different findings between men and women
and also between the younger and older women in the study.

Peters, M., Chisholm, P., Laeng, B., Spatial Ability, Student Gender, and Academic
Performance, Journal of Engineering Education, Vol. 84, No. 1, January, 1995.

Research was undertaken to test the spatial ability of male and female
engineering students using a standard test (Mental Rotation Test). Sex
differences favoring males on the test were observed, though there were

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APPENDIX D.8
no sex differences in academic course performance in engineering design
which contained significant spatial components. In addition, it was found
that small amounts of experience with the mental rotation task produced
large gains in performance and reduced the magnitude of sex difference.
This study provides counter-evidence to sometime sweeping statements
that have been made about the relationship between spatial ability, as
measured by such tests, and actual performance in science and
mathematics subject areas.

Rayman, P., Brett, B., Women Science Majors: What Makes A Difference in Persistence
after Graduation?, The Journal of Higher Education, July/August, 1995. Abstracted by
the Online Ethics Center. Retrieved from the World Wide Web, September 29, 2000.
http://onlineethics.org.ecsel/abstracts/academenv3.html?mode=text

This study tracks 369 women who graduated from a leading women’s
college with majors in science or mathematics. It does not include those
in the medical/health professions. It compares those who left the sciences
after graduation, those who switched to another occupation and those who
remained in the sciences. A number of independent variables were
examined including major, family characteristics, parental encouragement,
advising, etc. The study found that those who stayed in science fields
were the group most likely to have received encouragement by both their
college teaches and their parents, especially their mothers, to pursue a
career in science. Majors in chemistry or computer science were also
found to be more likely to continue on in the sciences. This study did not
include engineers.

Rosser, S.V., Female-Friendly Science—Including Women in Curricular Content and


Pedagogy in Science, The Journal of General Education, Vol. 41, No. 3, 1993 (pp. 191-
220) Abstracted by the Online Ethics Centers. , Retrieved from the World Wide Web,
June 26, 2000.
http://wwwonlineethic.com/ecsel/abstracts/femfriendsci.html

The author identifies a series of six stages describing the role and presence
of women in science and their impact on how science is done.
Understanding these stages should underpin a new format for curriculum
content and teaching techniques to 1) alleviate an expected dearth of
scientists by making science attractive to women and others previously
excluded, and 2) to improve science. Useful descriptions of the stages
with examples are helpful in raising consciousness and understanding of
what systemic discrimination is and what it means in the realm of science.

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APPENDIX D.8
Widnall, S., Digits of Pi: Barriers and Enablers for Women in Engineering, Presented at
the S.E. Regional Meeting of the National Academy of Engineering, Georgia Tech, April
26, 2000. Retrieved from the World Wide Web, September 13, 2000.
http://www.mit.edu/afs/athena.mit.edu/dept/aeroastro/www/people/widnall/Digits_of_Pi.
html

The author who is a professor of aerospace engineering at MIT gives her


lists of why engineering needs women, why women don’t go into
engineering, why women are not welcome in engineering and how to
increase the number of women in engineering, illustrating examples of
systemic barriers along the way. One of the most interesting has to do
with perceptions about tests as indicators of future performance. After
finding that the math SAT was a poor indicator of how women would
perform at MIT (they consistently performed better), the entrance criteria
were changed and within one year the percentage of women in the
entering class increased from 26% to 38%. The style of the paper is
informal but Widnall does not pull any punches. She says ‘If women
don’t belong in engineering, then engineering, as a profession is irrelevant
to the needs of our society.’

Williams, F.M., Access and Merit: A Debate on Encouraging Women in Science and
Engineering, Presented at the 8th CCWEST Conference, July 6-8, 2000, St. John’s
Newfoundland. Retrieved from the World Wide Web, October 20, 2000.
http://www.mun.ca/cwse/events_nfnt.html

A discussion paper which uses Mathematics as a proxy for science and


engineering more generally to show that a one specific thinking style
within Mathematics has been favored by our academic tradition.
Axiomatic expression favour men more than women but is not the only
thinking process valid to Mathematics. The author also addresses the
merit argument and makes the case that programs that improve access to
science and engineering will tend to enhance, rather than diminish, merit.

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APPENDIX E

A SHORT LIST OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING RESOURCES

VIDEOS
CAREER INFORMATION FOR GIRLS AND YOUNG WOMEN
Career Encounters: Women in Engineering. Available from WEPAN (Women in
Engineering Program Advocates Network) Member Services, 1284 CIVL Building,
Room G293 West Lafayette, IN 47907-1284.

Cool Careers Women. A video for girls in grades 7 -10 showcases young women
engineering role models with 'cool' jobs and interesting lives to highlight the excitement,
breadth and rewards of a career in engineering. . Available from Dr. Robert Greenberg,
Career Services, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996-4010. Fax (423) 974-
6497

Engineering: Design Tomorrow's World. For Junior and Senior High School Students.
Features young women talking about career and life concerns and profiles of women
engineers in which these concerns are addressed in the context of their careers. Available
from Dr. Monique Frize, NSERC Chair for Women in Science and Engineering, Carleton
University.

The Story of the Android. Video and associated teaching materials, for girls in elementary
school. . Available from Dr. E.J. Weckman, Faculty of Engineering, University of
Waterloo.

What Do Scientists Do? Video and teacher's guide for girls in elementary school.
Available from S.C.W.I.S.T. (Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology),
417-535 Hornby St., Vancouver BC, V6C 2E8.

Women in Engineering. Video and resource guide for career education. Available from
Her Own Words, P.O. Box 5264, Madison WI 53705-0264. Fax (608) 271-0209.

Women in Engineering, Changing by Degree. For women engineering students


considering graduate work. Includes interviews and tips about the 'unwritten rules'.
Available from Dr. Monique Frize, NSERC Chair for Women in Science and
Engineering, Carleton, University.

GENDER EQUITY TRAINING


Classroom Climate Workshops on Gender Equity for Faculty Members. Video and
Facilitation Guide. Using interactive theatre vignettes this video addresses a number of
the more subtle types of exclusionary behaviour women may experience in science and
engineering classrooms. Available from the Purdue Research Foundation, Purdue
University, West Lafayette, Indiana.

Equity in Education: Gender Bias in the College Classroom with accompanying


handbook Creating Gender Equity in Your Teaching. Demonstrates behaviours men and
women display in the classroom. Available from Karin Mack, University of California,
Davis. klmack@udavis.edu

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APPENDIX E

CD-ROMS
Xplore Science Careers. An interactive CD-ROM profiles eight working women
including several engineers. It includes profiles, a self-survey and a listing of career
resources. Available from S.C.W.I.S.T., 417-535 Hornby St., Vancouver BC V6C 2E8.

You Can Be A Woman Engineer. Interactive CD-ROM for elementary school girls and
their parents. With accompanying paperback. Cascade Pass, Inc. Available
commercially, ISBN 1-880599-19-8

PROJECT BOOKS AND MANUALS


How Universities Can Help Teachers Introduce Girls to Engineering: A How-To
Manual. For teachers and students from K-12. Available from Karin Mack, University of
California, Davis. klmack@ucdavis.edu

What Do Engineers Do? A book of demonstrations, experiments and projects for students
in grades 7 to 12. Available from WEPAN Member Services, 1284 CIVL Building,
Room G293, West Lafayette, Indiana.

POSTERS
A series of fourteen posters each celebrating an outstanding woman engineer. All the
featured individuals are Americans. Available from the ASME, at 1-800-843-2763.

ONLINE MATERIALS
How Hard Can It Be. An annotated Bibliography of background materials and
curriculum resources to encourage girls and young women into computer technology,
engineering and trades, leadership and entrepreneurship. The Ontario Women's
Directorate. Available online at
http://www.gov.on.ca/mczcr/owd/english/publications/how-hard-can-it-be/index.html

Achieving Gender Equity in Science Classrooms. A manual and guide for faculty on
recognizing and changing discriminatory classroom practices. Compiled by Women
Science Students and Science Faculty and Staff at the member colleges and universities
of NECUSE (The New England Consortium for Undergraduate Science Education).
Available online at
http://www.brown.edu/Administration/Dean_of_the_College/homepginfo/equity/Equity_
handbook.html

Adviser, Teacher, Role Model, Friend. An extensive and thorough guide for faculty
members, teachers, administrators, and others who advise and mentor students of science
and engineering. From the National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.
Available online at http://www.nap.edu.readingroom/books/mentor/index.html

Creating Gender Equity in Your Teaching. For college and university instructors. From
the University of California, Davis. Available online at
http://www.engr.ucdavis.edu/college/infromation/gender/hand2.html

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January 15, 2001