Working Women, Children Into The Formula

"I am woman, hear me roar." Helen Reddy belted out that anthem in the early 1970s and the Women's Rights Movement thanked her for it. Today, women are part of every career path, but there is still a shortage of female engineers. To remedy that, several organizations and companies have banded together to promote the field.

I recently blogged about Women Sharing a Chemical Moment in Time, which was designed to reflect on the current landscape for women chemists. 

According to Catherine T. “Katie” Hunt, director, Innovation Sourcing & Sustainable Technologies at The Dow Chemical Co., "We need to be role models for future generations and let them know what we do. We have to provide hope as we move toward a more sustainable society. Tapping kids' creativity is the key – they are unfettered."

Dow also hosted an online event “The Future of Women in Chemistry and Science,” (http://futurewecreate.com) which covered topics from mentoring young women and fostering executive leadership to gender differences.

The webinar presented personal vignettes offered by women who are leaders in the fields of chemistry and other sciences, business, and women's studies. Featured speakers included Mariette DiChristina, the executive editor of Scientific American; Dr. Connie Chow, executive director of the Science Club for Girls; and Linda Rosen, CEO of Change the Equation.

Another program aimed at tapping young minds -- The Global Marathon For, By and About Women in Engineering and Technology -- was held in early March and set out to change the conversation about girls and how they view engineering as a career. Sponsored by Rockwell Collins, Motorola Foundation and ExxonMobil, the worldwide forum connected professional women, college students and girls for virtual and in-person conversations about education and careers in engineering and technology.

Obviously, there is a need for these types of programs. A survey conducted for the National Engineers Week Foundation found that girls were interested in math and science, but simply did not know how those disciplines could translate into an engineering career.   
 
Indeed, when Hunt was president of the American Chemical Society she often spoke at local schools to spread the word about careers in chemistry. "I had students coming up to me telling me they had no idea chemistry did so many things. One student told me her mom said she couldn't major in chemistry in college because there wasn't enough demand in the field."

The demand is there, as well as interest. In another blog I wrote, and all-girls school in Columbus, Ohio, is encouraging its students to pursue engineering careers. School Encourages Girls To Excel In Science And Engineering.

And several other programs are aimed and sparking interest in the science and engineering fields, including First Robotics Engages Kids In Science And Technology.

What other programs are out there that encourage women and children to enter the field of engineering?

Traci Purdum
Senior Digital Editor

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