International Women’s Day

B_XzpBWU0AIeoe2By Jessica Bales

March 8th, this Sunday, is International Women’s Day! One of the Lunabotics Club’s major outreach efforts is to encourage kids, especially young girls, to be involved in science and technology.

Women in engineering offer new perspectives and bring more creativity to the table. According genderstats2to the National Science Board, in a study released in 2012, women make up 47% of the overall workforce, but only 27% of the science and engineering workforce.  So what is going on?  A study conducted by the US Chamber of Commerce suggests that

“STEM career paths may be less accommodating to people cycling in and out of the workforce to raise a family – or it may be because there are relatively few female STEM role models. Perhaps strong gender stereotypes discourage women from pursuing STEM education and STEM jobs.”

While there is no definite explanation for the gender gap in the STEM fields, many organizations, including the ISU Lunabotics club and the ISU College of Engineering, are trying to encourage more women to be interested and involved in science and technology.

I spoke with Diana, Jasmine, and Kelly, three engineering students in the Lunabotics club about their take on women in engineering. “For the most part the only difference (between female engineers and male engineers) is that question” said Kelly, and Diana and Jasmine agreed. The response of the group to that question was ‘treat me like an engineer, not a female engineer.’ In high school, Jasmine experienced some people thinking it was “weird” that she liked math and science.  She advises girls who are interested in engineering to not “listen when people when they tell you it’s weird.”  “Just do what you love” advised Kelly.  Above all, stated Diana, “don’t be intimidated.”