The world needs more women engineers. There’s nothing new in that statement—we hear it all the time.
But something I hadn’t previously heard is this: The United States needs to double the number of female engineers—to three in 10—in order for the nation to capitalize on the intellectual capital of women and attain its true potential for innovation.
That forceful advice comes from Margaret Bailey, the Kate Gleason Chair and professor of mechanical engineering in RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering in remarks on the RIT news podcast Studio 86. The specificity of her call to action—that we need three in 10 women engineers in this country—is what makes it such a compelling point (as opposed to a wishy-washy phrase saying the world needs more female engineers). In the news biz, it’s also what we call a story’s “news hook”—a reason why comments sometimes “make news.”
Bailey says reaching a “critical mass” of 30 percent female engineers (more than twice the current number)—along with achieving other diversity goals—will lead to more and greater technological advances. Hear the full interview and find out about the efforts of RIT’s WE@RIT group, which works to encourage girls and young women to pursue studies and careers in engineering, on Studio 86.
And, I can’t help but wonder: Would a female engineer have designed a “friendlier” Apple iPhone—one that would’ve been more open from the start (making the “cracking” by “GeoHot” unnecessary)? I should add, I have no idea about the gender makeup of Apple’s iPhone engineers (maybe there were some women on the team); and, more likely it was marketing behind the decision to close the iPhone to all but a single telecom company. But, you never know: Maybe having a few more women engineers in Cupertino, Calif., would make Apple less inclined to “make war” over consumers’ cell-plan preferences—leaving “GeoHot” free to solve more pressing matters (like why people are having so much trouble getting “Hannah Montana” tickets!).
Have a great weekend!