Engineering Women Into the Workplace

by Patti Hinckley, (M.ASCE), Director of Facilities Management; Harriman Associates, Auburn, ME,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1991, Vol. 61, Issue 11, Pg. 66-67

Document Type: Feature article


According to the U.S. Department of Labor, by the year 2000, only 15% of the work force will be white men; 64% will be women of mixed ethnic backgrounds. Clearly, statistics show that the future engineering and science work force will include more women. Yet they now comprise less than 7% of the U.S. engineering profession. How can your company function profitably in the current technical revolution given the predicted demographic changes and the shrinking global economy? The time has come to recruit—then develop—women engineers in order to remain competitive in the next century. This integration is a two-dimensional process requiring both a technical change (of recruitment and retention) and a human, or social change. Social changes call for the dismantling of outdated barriers and the eliminating of unfair stereotypes. These social changes do not happen overnight; they, instead, evolve over time. Your company's management can lead the way by initiating the technical aspects of integration—the long-term commitment to recruit, develop, advance and retain women. Once women have been recruited, they must be integrated into a workplace that encourages their participation. A specific company retention plan can help achieve that goal.

Subject Headings: Engineering profession | Social factors | Women | Personnel management | Employees | Labor | Statistics | Profits

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