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From the examination of literature it has been noted that a number of reasons have been advanced for very few women participating in engineering courses. According to the National Academy of Engineering (1999), in the last century women lacked role models they could emulate in the field of engineering. This is said to have acted as a barrier to most women who may have wanted venture into the field of engineering (National Academy of Engineering p. 1). Probably this must have been the genesis of the stereotype that engineering is only male students. A number of researchers have identified stereotyping as one of the main causes which has scared away female students from pursuing engineering. According to Hill, Corbett and Andresse (2008) stereotyping is a major problem as it sets a wrong attitude toward engineering field in the eyes of the female students (Hill, Corbett and Andresse 1).
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Hill, Corbett and Andresse (2008) further offered more explanation as to why women are few in the engineering field. Among the reasons forwarded were issues related to beliefs on intelligence. They explain that it is common belief that the girl child is not endowed with the talents of pursuing and understanding engineering concepts. It is a common belief that girls and women in general are good in art subjects while males are good at the science subjects. This bias needs to be countered in order to give the female students equal chances as men in the engineering. Hill, Corbett and Andresse (2008) also argued that bias against females who are engaged in the field of engineering either as students or workers. The bias originates from the fact that females are stereotyped as not being generally good at technological fields. Hill, Corbett and Andresse (2008) make a conclusion by pointing a finger at the social environmental factors as major contributors leading to few women participating in engineering field in few numbers (Hill, Corbett and Andresse 1).
In a different research by Larson, Cordova-Wentling, Loui and Korte (2009) similar opinion were aired. According to Larson, Cordova-Wentling, Loui and Korte (2009) learning institutions need to make changes in order to meet encourage the enrolment of female students in engineering courses. Larson, Cordova-Wentling, Loui and Korte (2009) argued that the learning environment makes a significant contribution to how students view the course they are pursuing. Larson, Cordova-Wentling, Loui and Korte (2009) have argued that the learning institution being responsible for producing workers to the market should take active roles in ensuring that all is done to bring on board the female ladies (Larson, Cordova-Wentling, Loui and Korte 1).
Other authors such as Koebnick (n.d.), Shirley, D. (1999) and Sanders, J and Koch, J. (1997) have expressed a lot of concern over the display of discrimination which takes place at workplaces with jobs which are related to engineering skills. Due to the fact that the number of female employees in jobs related to engineering skills is outnumbered by their male colleague, discriminating against the female employees becomes traumatizing. This is said to discourage females from pursuing jobs related to engineering field in fear of being discriminated against (Sanders and Mattis 66).
Research need to be carried out on the attitude of tutors in engineering fields towards the ability of a females performing well in the engineering field. This will likely help correct any wrong attitude that the tutors might have if any and also significant proposals might be made to make it possible for the inclusion of more female students in the field of engineering. This is concluded from answers which were obtained from Dr. Gail Mclaughlin and Dr. Laura Clarke both from the physics departments. To the first question both gave the same ranking for males and females with Dr. Gail ranking both at 5 and Dr. Laura at 7. This shows a positive attitude on the part of the administration. On the second question Dr. Gail said she does not have preferences meaning she is comfortable with teaching any of the groups. The answer from Dr. Laura implicated the same. In the third question Dr. Gail suggested a more interactive session with the female students apart from the Pizza lunch they have. Dr. Laura on the third touched on issues of social environment and simply concluded in the forth question that the topic was an extremely complex issue. Dr. Gail gave a very significant insight in the forth question by claiming that the shift actually starts middle and high schools. She suggested the need to develop programs which will encourage more girls to enjoy math and science in the high schools and middle schools. I concur with the opinion of Dr. Gail that there is a need for policies to be set up to encourage girls to participate more in the math and science subjects.
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