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ACM TechNews

Tech Field Seeks More Women

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Although more women are pursuing degrees in math, physics, computer science, engineering, biochemistry, and other technology-centric fields than ever before, enrollment rates are still not as high as some expected after decades of encouraging women to enter the sciences. The percentages of women in electrical and mechanical engineering have remained steady nationwide over the past several years, says Texas Christian University engineering instructor Becky Bittle.

Many schools have outreach programs to attract the attention of potential female students, as well as organizations to ensure female students never feel isolated. University of Texas at Arlington associate dean of engineering for academic affairs Lyn Peterson says that when she started teaching in the early 1980s, her computer programming classes were nearly equal parts men and women, but the percentage of women soon dropped and has never recovered.

Bittle and Peterson say there are many advantages to being a women in a male-dominated field, with women providing a different viewpoint, and often earning significant accomplishments and accolades because they stand out from the industry norm. "You might get thought of for various opportunities because your name pops up," says Bittle, "and because you're good at it."

From Fort Worth Business Press
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