Diversity in Structural Engineering

Statistics on gender and racial diversity show that women and minority representation are low in structural civil engineering (reference 1 and 2). These stats include representation in engineering firms, state licensure boards, professional organizations, and universities. The percentage of women in structural engineering in universities is the highest among all the four areas (~25%). This number drops to 15% for the firms, licensure boards, and organizations. Similarly, minority groups account for 10% (Hispanic), 3% (African American) and <1% (Native American) in the universities. Women tend to acquire lesser positions of leadership in structural engineering firms and universities. Minority males do face some disparity in pay range but it is still better than women. It was also found that women leave jobs in between due to lack of work satisfaction and lack of flexible work schedules.

I personally think part of the problem is the biased behavior of males towards females during interviews, presentations, promotions, and teamwork. I know of so many instances where people have mentioned that women are not good at engineering. I believe, attitude is a big problem here. And it gets intensified by social and cultural bias/stereotypes. I think there should be more awareness programs. By no means does being a woman or being from a minority group make one less competent, smart or intelligent. Proper development and mentoring from early-career can lead to many great women and minority leaders in the coming time. I personally have not seen many women HODs in civil engineering. This is sad but the truth. Nowadays, civil faculty in the leading U.S. universities do have a good balance in terms of race and gender. But we have a long way to go. More steps need to be taken in this direction. A diverse workplace makes the job more competitive, innovative, productive and definitely adds to the experience.

References

 

  1. Diversity in Structural Engineering Profession – https://www.structuremag.org/?p=7042
  2. Gender and Racial Diversity in the Structural Engineering Profession – https://static1.squarespace.com/static/55cba7dbe4b07ca3d73c39af/t/55ce4e24e4b06c2348a5dab6/1439583780768/GenderDiversityDraft_FINAL_Rev_v1.pdf

 

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