The deep challenge of attracting and retaining girls and women in engineering and science has persisted for decades. While other fields have succeeded, the cornerstones of engineering, the hard sciences, and mathematics have made little meaningful progress.
The Gender Parity Initiative is a focused and driven national effort to create and implement solutions that work – solutions that change the way girls see these critical fields, and solutions that prepare and support girls and women throughout their careers. The Gender Parity Initiative is a partnership of some of the most influential organizations and companies in the country. Our collective future depends on achieving success now.
Gone are the days of pocket-protectors and “nerdy” reputations. Engineering in the 21st century is chic, altruistic, interpersonal, team-oriented and multidisciplinary. In short, engineering is a great place for women.
SMU is among the nation’s leaders for women engineering students: Women made up 37 percent of last year’s incoming class compared to the national average of approximately 19 percent. While those numbers are impressive, that’s not good enough. The goal at SMU, through the School of Engineering’s Gender Parity Initiative, is to become the first engineering program in the nation that attracts an equal number of men and women.
Many universities have special programs geared toward women in engineering, but SMU is creating opportunities in engineering that are attractive to women. Programs at SMU focus on how engineers help society, as well as the diverse careers a degree in engineering can lead to such as medicine, law and business. The Gender Parity Initiative aims to erase stereotypes and help young women see themselves in roles they might not have imagined. Some of the programs include: She Networks She Wins, High Heels-High Tech and SMU Engineering Camp for Girls.