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jmw (Industrial) (OP)
19 Mar 11 15:33
This topic has come up a couple of times, how to encourage more women to take up engineering and how to make the environment for women more acceptable.
This is an article about a female chief engineer on board a ship....http://marineinsight.com/marine/a-woman-chief-engineer-from-brazil-describes-her-interesting-life/
 

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com

 

Helpful Member!(6)  TheTick (Mechanical)
19 Mar 11 16:42
The first thing that needs to happen is that men in engineering need to stop acting like jerks.

I went into engineering believing that women were fewer in number but on an otherwise equal footing.  It was late-20th Century America, after all.  Any women who complained were just playing the "Gender Card".

20 years later, I'm convinced most women engineers leave engineering because they are treated like crap.  Seen it with my own eyes.
Helpful Member!(6)  dvd (Mechanical)
19 Mar 11 17:46
I'm convinced most women engineers leave engineering because they are treated like crap.

I actually think that most women engineers who leave engineering do so because they are smart enough to realize that they don't have to put up with this crap.
 
Helpful Member!  GregLocock (Automotive)
19 Mar 11 19:40
Mostly agree with dvd, women engineers have a lower tolerance for the sort of crap we usually put up with, and have the wisdom to put their energy elsewhere.

 

Cheers

Greg Locock


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brandonbw (Civil/Environmental)
20 Mar 11 3:50
I worked somewhere, just a pathetic place in so many ways, and it was common thought that every project manager had to make one of the women cry before they were promoted.  If I hadn't seen this myself I wouldn't believe it.  I think I saw all but 2 women cry at this work place.

On a positive note, all the women I went to school with are still doing very well in their work places, I am 32 and graduated in 2002.

And I think DVD's sounds right on the dot for both genders.

B+W Engineering and Design
Los Angeles Civil and Structural Engineering
http://bwengr.com

Helpful Member!  ajack1 (Automotive)
20 Mar 11 8:50
There is currently a fantastic four part series on the BBC called the British at work. It tracks the workplace from post WW2 to the current day.

It shows the whole sorry mess from virtually total employment but with many mind numbing jobs, virtually zero health and safety, sexism and racism common place, weak management, outdated work practices, militant unions, lazy workforces, etc.

The sexism side is very interesting from advertising secretarial roles where vital statistics and looks are a requirement and the only female engineer on the Concord project and how she was paid less, missed out on promotion and male colleagues were asked why have you brought your wife to this meeting?

Much of this is so cringe worthy it almost seems impossible it happened, however it does make me wonder how we have now reached the stage where it is nearly impossible to employ a female in a crucial role at a small company who is likely to have children, when you look at the current employment law regarding maternity leave it is plain stupid and actually creates the very thing it started out trying to prevent.

Pretty much the same applies to health and safety you look on in horror at people working in a foundry with little or no protective clothing but I do wonder at what point we became so stupid that it is now common place for companies not to allow a kettle in the work place on the grounds of health and safety.

A couple of weeks ago there was a European ruling that insurance companies could not offer cheaper insurance to women drivers who were a lower risk than their male counterparts as it was sexist, that to me is plain stupid. How long before some Eurocrat decides that to charge a 96 year old more money for life insurance than a 16 year old is ageist?

We do seem to have gone from the sublime to the ridiculous and I would guess at some point we must have had the balance about right, I just have no idea when it was.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00zg047
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/8374195/Review-The-British-at-Work-BBC-Two.html
Helpful Member!  jmw (Industrial) (OP)
20 Mar 11 12:37
Did no one think the tone of the article rather patronising?
The intent may have been good but somehow this didn't seem to quite hit the target.

I know I did, but I wasn't sure if it was just poor journalism or "Hey, look guys,here's the little woman who is happy to get her hands covered in grease and who can change a filter...."
Or, as they actually said:

Quote:

Juliana loves to put her hands in grease. She changes oil, filters of marine engines and attends all routine performance and maintenance needs.

It read like someone down the pub bragging that his wife or girlfriend could actually do something like check the oil and water in her car and put air in the tyres and maybe, just maybe, change a wheel on her own.

As chief engineer she should be capable of a great deal more which isn't mentioned. Emergency repairs to the water treatment plant, cylinder head replacements and everything else that goes with the job.
It might have been nice to describe her job as chief engineer, as that of any engineer, and treat the fact that she is a "female" as incidental and let us get the point that this is a mum with a beautiful young daughter.

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com

 

Helpful Member!(4)  KENAT (Mechanical)
21 Mar 11 14:44
OK, I'll bite even though last time it offended a few people.

Why should we encourage more women, or any other identifiable group, into engineering essentially at the expense of other 'over represented' groups?

Why do we assume every profession, or similar group, should be equally populated by members of every color, creed, sex & race?

Don't get me wrong, obviously there is some use in tracking demography in professions since particularly low representation of a group compared to in other similar professions may indicate there is a genuine issue of discrimination or similar.  

I just am not convinced that all professions should automatically have equal representation.

I haven't noticed particularly better or worse treatment of women at work.  I noticed better treatment of them in academia though.

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Helpful Member!(3)  SiliconeAurora (Materials)
22 Mar 11 8:51
KENAT:

It's not so much that professions have to have equal representation. It's that many groups, such as women (collectively) want equal opportunities and no workplace discrimination, and yet there are professions such as engineering where they are almost totally nonexistent. It's worth wondering what's up with that.

We should encourage women into engineering under the same premise that we should encourage anyone into engineering that has the interest and the mindset to do it. Race and gender should not be an issue.  If we, not as men but as a society, are doing this to a satisfactory level and women on the whole just aren't interested, well okay. But it's not certain that we are.

Still, I agree jmw that the article seems a little silly. I mean, good for this woman engineer, but the article is trumpeting it up so much that it sounds like some sort of major accomplishment instead of a lifestyle that is a reasonable thing to live. The quote that gets me is:

Quote:

She has to play the role of a mother, a wife, a girlfriend, a boss, and finally a warrior! Something not everyone can do!
But, a male in this position would not be "a father, husband, boyfriend, boss, and a warrior," despite the fact that all of these titles would apply to him as well. This would all be expected of him as a guy. Yet, when it's about a woman, it sounds like she's some sort of superhero for having a real career. Not exactly advancing the cause here.
SnTMan (Mechanical)
22 Mar 11 10:23
I think the article says far more about journalism than it does engineering.

Regards,

Mike

 
KENAT (Mechanical)
22 Mar 11 10:50
Hey, I'm fine with informing people that have an aptitude and interest about how great engineering is (not that you'd think it from the amount of whining on this sitewinky smile), I thought that thread recently about a guy who wanted to do some simple engineering demo at a career day type event was great...

I just think whether they're female or male should be mostly irrelevant.

At least in the UK there were extra sponsorships and the like for females going into engineering.  Physics teachers and math teachers etc. would go out of their way to encourage the girls to consider engineering.

Heck, my US wife was encouraged almost to the point of harassment by a math teacher (or maybe it was a lecturer at college) to enter the engineering program based solely on the fact she was reasonable at algebra.

It is probably worth spending a little time wondering why the number of women in engineering hasn't increased the same way it has in medicine and law.

However, starting out with a premise that 'we should have more women in engineering' seems a flawed starting point.

I've seen/read/heard various articles about how on average womens & mens brains are different and how they tend to do better in certain exercises etc. and how there are trends between male and female children at an early age as which subjects they prefer...

Maybe it's just that generally more men have the required inbuilt biological factors to make them good engineers or want to be engineers or how ever it works.

This certainly shouldn't be used as an excuse to limit opportunities for women though.

The other argument might be because they don't see many female role models in engineering etc, part of the whole nature V nurture argument.  Then again, how many male engineer role models do boys see compared to other professions?

Perhaps we need more female engineer role models and more publicity for their achievements, and 'Mrs. Schilling's Orifice' may not be quite the standard bearer we'd want!winky smile

Maybe engineers tend to be sexist bigots (you might be forgiven for thinking so given the odd comment in the pub etc.), and that's the issue, if so then some action is probably warranted.

Then again, there are careers that are dominated by women, are equal efforts being made to encourage men into them?  Somewhere on 'Nurse-Tips.com' is there a thread about encouraging men to become registered nurses?

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TheTick (Mechanical)
22 Mar 11 10:54
With regard to underprepresented populations, e.g. women and minorities...

Real talent is such a rare commodity that we can ill afford to exclude any segment of the population or discriminate based on arbitrary accidents of birth.
Debaser (Civil/Environmental)
22 Mar 11 13:16

Quote:

We do seem to have gone from the sublime to the ridiculous and I would guess at some point we must have had the balance about right, I just have no idea when it was.

We seem to forget that once upon a time the UK was such an equal place we treated men, women and children exactly the same...and sent them all down coal mines or into the textile factories.

This restriction of women to 'eye candy' roles (as portrayed in Mad Men for example) seems to have been something of an early C20th anomaly, to an extent, although I accept there don't appear to have been any female Brunels or the like (that we know of). But then again it's not like every male engineer had the ability or showmanship to write his name in history.

 
cranky108 (Electrical)
22 Mar 11 15:06
The whole topic of equality reminds me of sports teams. They are not a fair in hireing, so why don't more people boycot them?

I'm sorry life isen't fair. However I work with several women engineers and they do bring a different perspective into things, which is good.



 
DannyGlover (Electrical)
22 Mar 11 16:46
I don't know if any group should be encouraged to go into engineering but I do feel the work environment in many industries is heavily biased towards straight white males. I have worked places were interns and junior engineers who weren't this were basically chased off or marginalized.  
Twoballcane (Mechanical)
23 Mar 11 11:50
Diversity of thought is the main goal for any well developed team or company.  If you or your company does not get it now, you and your company will be left behind.  The next generation of employees will be made of smart people from different places and of course made of both genders.  If you hang on to this gray beard thinking, it will blind you to people on one side of the room and not realize that you actually need all the people in the whole room to find the right solutions. The world is changing if you like it or not.  While more and more larger companies are realizing if they can create a non-biased environment, they can either hire twice the smart people than just main stream white males or hire other people with a different thought (and experience) process than main stream white males.  

Homogenous thought (one way of thinking) will stagnate innovation.  Diversity of though (many ways of thinking because the people have different backgrounds) will spur innovation.

 

Tobalcane
"If you avoid failure, you also avoid success."
"Luck is where preparation meets opportunity"  

jmw (Industrial) (OP)
23 Mar 11 14:19
Linked in has provided another useful link:
http://sites.google.com/site/inverclydeshipbuilding/home/general-history/ww1---women-in-shipbuilding in line with the comments made by Ajack1
 

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com

 

SiliconeAurora (Materials)
24 Mar 11 8:54
Twoballcane:

You kind of imply that ideas and viewpoints are based totally on ethnicity and gender, and that all white males think alike and loading up on them is somehow deadly to innovation. Encouraging diversity for the sheer purpose of diversity itself is a sort of anti-racism that's no better than its opposite.

The goal should be to get a group of talented, qualified people, regardless of what gender or ethnic background they come from. If this means a largely diverse group of every color in the rainbow, great. If this means a group of pale old white guys, also great. As long as can get the job done, all else shouldn't factor in.

Likewise, I feel that the article in the OP would have been far more effective if it had done less to promote the woman engineer as some sort of hero and had taken the tone that her occupation and lifestyle was reasonable, livable, and really not that much of a big deal. Making her seem like some sort of superwoman only enforces the idea that you have to be extremely strong of mind and body to be a woman in a male-dominated occupation, which should be exactly the opposite of what they were trying to accomplish.
TheTick (Mechanical)
24 Mar 11 11:08
You grossly underestimate the power that culture exerts on behavior.  Individuals vary, but I there are some surprising consistencies across populations.
Twoballcane (Mechanical)
24 Mar 11 16:55
"You kind of imply that ideas and viewpoints are based totally on ethnicity and gender, and that all white males think alike and loading up on them is somehow deadly to innovation."

Hmmm Silicone, are white males starting to feel discriminated based on some dum stereo typical view that somebody else has?  Welcome to the world of others who are not white males.


"The goal should be to get a group of talented, qualified people, regardless of what gender or ethnic background they come from. If this means a largely diverse group of every color in the rainbow, great. If this means a group of pale old white guys, also great. As long as can get the job done, all else shouldn't factor in. "

The status quo of these teams is made up of white males.  Don't kid yourself.  A white male will be hired over others even if his skill level is slightly less than the other candidates.  Studies have been done on this.  If there is no difference between having a diversified team than a pasty white male team, then why the push back as may here have indicated?  

Also, let me clarify, Diversity of Thought includes all (white males included) and it is inclusive to all people who can contribute to the solution.  Not for the purpose of nationality or gender, but for the purpose of different though process thru different cultures and family upbringing.  
 

Tobalcane
"If you avoid failure, you also avoid success."
"Luck is where preparation meets opportunity"  

owg (Chemical)
25 Mar 11 8:17
What we need is less men. That way the m/f ratio would improve and we would not have oversupply resulting in lower salaries.

HAZOP at www.curryhydrocarbons.ca

ColonelSanders83 (Mechanical)
25 Mar 11 11:10
%51.5 of the population of the US is female.

The m/f ratio is already such (although this is mostly due to a 5 year differance in life expetancy).

If you apply a correction to the the data for gender and the minority population of the US (%25.15 of the population are minorities). The total percentage of the US population that make up the groups of women and minorities is %64.45.

 

A question properly stated is a problem half solved.

Always remember, free advice is worth exactly what you pay for it!  

http://www.ap-dynamics.ab.ca/

csd72 (Structural)
25 Mar 11 13:36
I have worked with all sorts of engineers from different backgrounds and genders.

There are many different types of 'talent' and 'methology' which may/or may not be based on gender background.

But to risk making a stereotype, In my experience, women tend to be better with the people side of things than men. This is an important skill as we all have to deal with a client of one type or another.

I do agree though that diversity should not be sought for its own sake as this would be reverse discrimination.  
SomptingGuy (Automotive)
26 Mar 11 11:15
I've worked with some good female engineers.  Not many though.  Most of the successful ones I come into contact with have self confidence skills that supersede their engineering skills.

 

- Steve

FeX32 (Mechanical)
26 Mar 11 13:24
I disagree with the  "while males" comments. In some countries like Canada we import so many "others" of so called "caliber" that white males are becoming rare in engineering.
Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against anyone at all as long as you can show your respect to others ect.. (and your worth sometimes)
The problem is that I have seen more and more lately that they discriminate against "European background" people to put their own peoples ahead despite not deserving it most of the time.
The extent of this is not the case in other countries like the US.

This is unfortunate. If this keeps going like this then it won't ever matter what skills you have or how good you are, all that will matter is who you know and what skin colour you have.
I don't think this was the intention of Canadian leaders when they made the policies they did ect. (although the caliber of leaders is another story....)
We should get over the fact that one guy burns in the sun shadeshappy and the other doesn't and just relax.



 

peace
Fe

FeX32 (Mechanical)
26 Mar 11 13:28
As for women....I promote them to the fullest. I agree with some comments above as well.
http://www.ospe.on.ca/goenggirl/
 

peace
Fe

owg (Chemical)
27 Mar 11 19:04
OSPE is an organization to "advance the professional and economic interests of our members". So they go about it by increasing the supply of engineers, go figure.

HAZOP at www.curryhydrocarbons.ca

FeX32 (Mechanical)
28 Mar 11 1:44
How are they increasing the supply?

peace
Fe

SiliconeAurora (Materials)
28 Mar 11 8:48
FeX32: by encouraging girls to learn about engineering, such that some may take it up as a career. Which increases the supply, which, owg would say, harms the "professional and economic interests of our members".

I've always felt that last part, about not encouraging newcomers in the interest of our own job security, particularly distasteful and short-sighted. As a young engineer myself, I know I have a lot to learn before I could reliably challenge my elders in this profession, and by the time I am ready, they're probably thinking more of retirement anyway.
owg (Chemical)
28 Mar 11 11:24
I have no vested interest in engineering salaries. I am retired. I know that increasing the supply of a good (engineers), reduces the price(salary)of the good, all other things being equal. Of course if we get lucky and the economy booms, then it may be that having a large supply of engineers in Canada will be good for Canada. In that case I may benefit as a citizen. However it may not be good for the engineers. It seems to me that OSPE is working on increasing membership rather than pursuing its mandate.  

HAZOP at www.curryhydrocarbons.ca

Helpful Member!(4)  kacarrol (Mechanical)
28 Mar 11 12:29
I graduated three years ago from Mechanical, in my classes we had between 5-10% females. We jokingly refer to Chem Eng as Fem-Eng since it was 60% female, environmental was even more. Computer or software was significantly less than Mechanical (if there was a girl in the class at all) and Civil was roughly 50/50.

My hypothesis is that women gravitate towards fields that have a direct benefit to society or to jobs that provide more of a "nurturing" role. They also seem to tend to take an education that will provide them with jobs that are located in a place that has a community feel.

Chemical engineers can participate in making drugs to benefit society (visions of lab coats) and labs tend to be in regular cities, civils can build hospitals and their jobs are found in regular office buildings, environmental is pretty obvious but a mechanical is viewed as dealing with cars or being out on oil rigs and software engineering brings up visions of dark rooms filled with monitors.

I took a job in Fort McMurray one co-op term where the female population is outnumbered 20-1. When I worked out there I felt no discrimination, in fact I usually had an easier time getting my work done because the guys were happy to talk to me. But a lot of girls asked me "how bad it was" they all envisioned a guys camp with disgusting showers and empty beer bottles everywhere. They didn't want to consider going out there because they did not envision a community that they were interested in living in.

Although I have encountered some discrimination at work because I'm a girl I find it is usually rare. To tell you the truth I think being a girl helps me because I find people are more helpful  and I have an easier time getting conversation going. This fact tends to offset any negativity I run into.

I have more problems with discrimination outside of work than inside. I know more about car engines and car repairs than the vast majority of my male friends but I get a lot of problems when I try to buy a car or have a repair done in a shop. If I show up with my vehicle to a new shop and have a male along with me I would say 80% of the time they will go out of their way to talk directly to him and pretend I'm just along for the ride even though it's my car!

When I first started repairing cars I had a lot of problems with the local guys as they just didn't believe that I was interested. Then a couple of them asked me to come help with their cars, in modified cars with tight restrictions under the hood a tiny pair of hands is a big benefit! On the other hand I needed them to help with getting the transmission out. We all have our strengths and weaknesses.

I think in the end we should be trying to promote people equally and encouraging those that have the right skill set into one area or another that would suit them. That way you will get people in the jobs that they will do well in. I don't think that we need to specifically focus on getting women into engineering, I think the numbers prove that they are going into it they are just picky about which one they get into. When promoting certain types of engineering you may have to have a variety of job examples to make sure you don't exclude different groups (women may be more interested in mechanical if they knew they could have a role in developing artificial hearts) but that's the only way I think it should be tailored differently.
 
KENAT (Mechanical)
28 Mar 11 15:05
Nice post Kacarrol.

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owg (Chemical)
28 Mar 11 15:19
Thanks for the post Kacarrol. Glad to hear you enjoyed Fort Mac. It must have progressed quite a bit since the sixties.

HAZOP at www.curryhydrocarbons.ca

KENAT (Mechanical)
28 Mar 11 23:09
Vaguely relevant:

http://moms.today.com/_news/2011/03/28/6355389-math-is-for-boys-children-absorb-stereotypes-by-second-grade

Interestingly, they seem convinced it's learned behavior, and don't even appear to consider the idea that there may be genetic factors involved.  

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Helpful Member!  rmw (Mechanical)
2 Apr 11 23:39
I started out in the all male, all anglo engineering world and now I work in an engineering world that is so mixed and diverse that as an anglo male, I am in the minority.

I ended up having all daughters so that gave me some sensitivity to wanting that my girls would receive any and every opportunity that they should have.

I work around some sharp and I mean sharp female engineers, and some are top level managers.  I guess wanting my daughters to excell makes me really respect female engineers that excell.

You can't hide from the gender differences however.  KACarrol gets to it with the small hands, vs. transmission comment.  Also, men and women think with different sides of the brain.  You can't change that.  But living in a house full of women as my children grew up helps me realize that women engineers are going to be more emotional and make decisions based more on emotion than logic.  Sometimes that is an advantage.  The old all male world was just too logical some times.

I have seen some Project Managers make some male engineers pretty mad, but none of them cried.  Maybe they broke a hand on the crapper wall in the bathroom, but didn't cry.  Maybe the women engineers are luckier that they can cry and release their emotions and don't have to wear their hand in a cast for 6 weeks.

I work for a large company where discrimination is a no-no so women get the opportunities they should.  It is real and I think it is good.

I like this new world.  I welcome the female contingent.  Bring it on girls and kick butt.

rmw
owg (Chemical)
3 Apr 11 9:34
Sorry for the delay FeX32, you asked "How are they increasing the supply?" Just read the link  above my original post. The link is http://www.ospe.on.ca/goenggirl/ .

HAZOP at www.curryhydrocarbons.ca

48jeep (Mechanical)
5 Apr 11 14:30
I would say that any attempts to to bring the numbers of race/sex/ect to some sort of normal distribution will only result in blowback.

If you force people together, you will cause an opposite reaction.  The majority being discriminated against will look at all of the minority being promoted as though they were placed there because of a requirement, not because of their own merit.  Likewise, the minority individual will either grow a sense of entitlement which will embolden both them and the majority to conflict, or lead them to question their own self worth, not knowing if they were hired to fill a quota or because they had merit.  This outcome is shown by the results of forced integration of all types and brands today.

The alternative is to let people interact and hire as they please.  Ultimately peaceful and voluntary cooperation and interaction over time is what breaks down barriers that may exist in the form of prejudice.

This applies to the "sex war" as well, and the voluntary interaction here is absolutely critical, because like it or not men and women are different.  Some may not think it fair that they have to work extra to prove themselves capable at what was traditionally a male or female task, but every person has to work the cards they are delt.  Proving you are capable, not forcing others to accept that you are, but proving, will benifit all those who come after you.  

Additionally, above where I dicuss the means to reach some diversity goal, we should not forget the definition of the goal itself.  I find "social engineering" to be a profoundly immoral pursuit. Humanity is too large, complex, and filled with too many perfectly unique individuals going different directions for different reasons for me to be foolish enough to think I can poke it in the right places and get desired change, and I would require a mighty narcisictic streak to think I knew what best shape humanity should take.
indme (Mechanical)
10 Apr 11 5:23
I think that, given the situation with price competition from engineers in the developing world, we need to encourage innovators of all sexes, races and ages to enter the engineering workforce.

Given that, I find both the SWE and other special-interest organizations such as NSBE are both outdated and offensive. The danger to opportunity in the West is not because of sexism and racism, rather because our shareholders are willing to farm out our work to developing and mostly less competent low-cost suppliers to improve quarterly stock performance. Infighting and promotion of special interests in the West does nothing but decrease productivity with SWE, NSBE, etc meetings during work hours and hurt our mutual cause.
jmw (Industrial) (OP)
10 Apr 11 15:46
This is a problem to know how to view any positive affirmative actions... or how to use them to achieve a desirable outcome.

If it is about filling quotas, where performance and skills count less than if someone can help fill a quota, I would be concerned. The net effect is to lower standards.

On the other hand, if when you look at engineering and see over-the-top unacceptable behaviour that makes life very uncomfortable for female engineers, such that they choose not to enter the profession, I am all for any action that addresses such behaviour. I would hope that all that is needed is to make sure sex discrimination laws are enforced and a policy within HR and with management that says they won't tolerate discriminatory behaviour.
Of course, the trouble with any such legislation is that the people who actually make allegations about such behaviour are as often as not trouble makers or opportunists and that those who really should use the system to correct bad behaviour and attitudes decide the easiest path for them is an alternative occupation.

So if it isn't the case here that women are being kept out of engineering because of discrimination, but that because of the attitudes encountered, women are choosing not to enter engineering then that is a problem that really does need addressing.

On the one hand quota filling will drag down standards where as by making engineering a more sensitive and receptive career which encourages the best to stay with it then standards will rise.

The trouble is how do you change the situation?

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com

 

GregLocock (Automotive)
11 Apr 11 0:42
So indme thinks that the way to deal with cheaper competition from overseas is to introduce cheaper competition at home.

Interesting perspective.

Cheers

Greg Locock


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KENAT (Mechanical)
11 Apr 11 16:18
Isn't that the logic behind H1B visas?

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Patgeotech (Geotechnical)
12 Apr 11 4:17
My graduating civil engineering class comprised of about 40% female engineers - of that 40%, I know of only 2 that stuck to civil engineering.  The rest departed to married life and the financial world.

Now 12 years later with two daughters, I understand that nothing beats married life and coming home to your kids after a hard days work - far better than a cold, dark gloomy flat and a pet cat.

And secondly I think the females that left for the financial world knew something I did not know at the time - the pay was going to be minimal in civil engineering! I have certainly learnt some valuable lessons from females through the years.

Yes, I have finally accepted that I am outnumbered (and will remain outnumberd) in my household! But I will probably learn a few new tricks along the way.

 
Helpful Member!(2)  lacajun (Electrical)
12 Apr 11 16:16
I contemplate writing about my experiences in Corporate America as a female engineer.  It's been most enlightening and challenging, politically.  I am not a politician.  For me, the truth is what one really needs to make good decisions.

I've worked with male engineers about 10 years my junior, who could not stand working with female engineers.

One male ME accused a female ChemE near his age of being clueless and a lousy engineer.  I never understood why he complained about her to me.  I found her to be quite intelligent and focused on her work.  She was positive in outlook and attitude thus a delight to talk with.  She was well grounded.  She was blowing the doors off a dual master's program at the local university.  The profs raved about her academic performance.  About a year later, I had to work with him to complete the project the ChemE began.  She followed her husband to another job two states away.  I learned who was really clueless.

Research indicates women are leaving Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, STEM, for other jobs.  Dr. Jenny Hunt found it is engineering, primarily, that women are leaving for other jobs.  I understand why as I almost left it.

And, for the men who believe working long hours and living months away from home does not impact them, think again.  Most of the male engineers I worked with were about 20-25 years my senior.  Some openly discussed the family problems they caused by not being home to help raise their children.

Recently, I discussed some of my experiences with a female physician about 10-15 years my senior.  She experienced discrimination upon entering medicine in her youth because not many women were physicians then.  It has gotten much better over her lifetime because the female population increased.  She never experienced what I have as an engineer or even came close to that kind of terrible treatment.  The interesting aspect for me in this is that I told her the least negative experiences to deliberately not be a turn off.  After all, who wants to talk to a negative, whiny woman on vacation?

Because of my experiences, I have discouraged young women from entering engineering and some young men.
Helpful Member!(2)  lisa247 (Aerospace)
14 Apr 11 9:01
I am a female engineer in the UK and have been since I left school in 1998, I was also a college lecturer teaching Engineering subjects for 2 years.  I have never personally experienced any kind of discrimination regarding my gender and I dont know any other female engineers who have either.  Reading some of the posts on here has shocked me as I wasnt aware that there were still so many people out there who think that women cannot be as good as male as Engineers, I thought that only very narrow minded and old fashioned thinkers had that opinion and those people were few and far between, now i'm wondering what people are saying about me behind my back! (Would a male engnieer get that paranoid...probably not!).  

As for the comments made about women being better at the "emotional" aspects and men being better at the "technical" aspects, I think that is quite offensive - people have different strengths and weaknesses regardless of gender, its what makes us all different!  Some female Engnieers might not be very good at what they do just in the same way that male engineers might not be very good at what they do.

Engineering is a male oriented profession because it just is, just like nursing is a female oriented profession, its nothing to do with sexism.  I dont see any problem with trying to encourage women into engineering in the same way that i dont see any problem encouraging anyone into engineering.

The main problem in my opinion (certainly in the UK) is that non-engineers don't really know what engineering is all about, the term Engineer is used so loosely these days that even someone who comes round to your house to install a freeview box is classed as an engineer, so there is a lot of confusion as to what engineers do.  But I suppose thats a separate thread altogether!

Lisa
KENAT (Mechanical)
14 Apr 11 10:58
A separate thread that's been done do death several times Lisa!winky smile

Your reply has got me thinking though, maybe it's worse with geography.  I graduated a year after Lisa back in the UK & It didn't seem much of an issue.  

On one occasion back in the UK I had a female engineer from a customer who was slightly younger than me ask me if my boss had a problem with her because she was female.  Now this guy was a bit old fashioned and not particularly PC, so it was a reasonable question, however, from what I saw his behavior was fairly consistent with almost everybody - especially youngsters.  So I tried to reassure her that it probably wasn't anything to do with her being female but, maybe I was missing something.

However, some of the other anecdotes above make it sound like maybe it's more prevalent still some places.

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KENAT (Mechanical)
18 Apr 11 22:23
Not sure quite how it relates but from elsewhere:

http://www.therecord.com/news/local/article/516129--uw-shuts-down-student-car-team-over-racy-photograph

(Warning, story includes a photo of a scantily clad Female Engineer)

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lacajun (Electrical)
19 Apr 11 12:07
On a personal level, I have no problem with the photograph.  Women can be engineers and feminine.  I believe most female engineers are simultaneously engineers and feminine.  And we are in spite of Corporate America's desire to homogenize us so that we are indistinguishable from men.

On a professional level, if a female engineer wants to be taken seriously, by most men and women in Corporate America, the clothes have to stay on and they can't be too skimpy.  Old fashioned?  Perhaps.  But that is human nature.

Female engineers older than me can get quite resentful about younger women not understanding the battle they fought to be considered equal in ability to male engineers.  We've had those conversations and their attitudes really surprised me as a young engineer.  For the record, I am 51 so those older than me are in their 60's now.  You can imagine the generation gap of knowledge.

I've listened to male engineers a lot over the years and the sexier women try to be in the workplace, the less respect they get as an engineer.  Not all men are like that but a lot of them are.

Older women who aren't engineers dislike younger women using their sexuality to advance their positions in Corporate America.  They, too, have endured some hardships to "get ahead" and be accepted in a male dominated company.  They've had their struggles getting respect from men for simply being women.  I've listened to them, too.

I'll admit that I am not particularly prudish but some young women are quite forward with promoting themselves sexually in the workplace.  Then they have the audacity to complain about their plight at work.  I had to laugh heartily over that one.  If you don't want to have a lot of men hitting on you at work and talking about you behind your back and/or to your face, don't wear mini-skirts and blouses so low and loose your huge bosom falls out to work.  Wear them to the meat market, i.e., the local bar.

One such young woman learned a lot of her problems were being discussed in the office.  I was one she had confided in.  Knowing the delicacy of her situation and wanting her to succeed, I kept my mouth shut.  She also confided in at least two of the men at work. There was possibly a third.  During a conversation with me, she eliminated all the men as being gossips, which left me.  She must have thought I wouldn't get her point quickly but I did.  It was very offensive.  I knew I had not talked.  I later learned from some of the other men in the office that both of the men had talked.  It was all quite hilarious but very sad for her.
lisa247 (Aerospace)
20 Apr 11 8:10
I think it would be good if there was a "Female Engineers" forum on here, I always think its nice to hear other womens viewpoints on things.  I think it can be a bit tough sometimes being in a predominantly male environment and I think a lot of us girls miss having a bit of female company from time to time when at work...or is it just me?
MikeHalloran (Mechanical)
20 Apr 11 10:09
Assuming 'a "Female Engineers" forum" existed, would you object to the existence of a complementary "Male Engineers" forum?

Or would that be 'sexist'?



Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA
KENAT (Mechanical)
20 Apr 11 10:29
Lisa, while not a 'female Engineers' forum, there are a couple of forums over in corporate survival http://www.eng-tips.com/threadcategory.cfm?lev2=88 that might be suitable for the occasional thread relating to the issues personages of the female persuasion may face in male dominated Engineering.

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lacajun (Electrical)
20 Apr 11 18:18
Mike, men can do anything their little ol' hearts desire.  Women have unnecessarily given some men a difficult time.  Some men deserve difficulties from women but those are few.  Most men I have worked with were jewels.  But those few......real stinkers they were.

Lisa247, I have missed female companionship in the workplace.  It isn't just you.  As much as I love men, it's nice to have women to share with, too.
lisa247 (Aerospace)
21 Apr 11 2:45
I would not mind if there was a male Engineers forum, although I cant see there really being a demand for it!  THanks KENAT i'll have a look smile
jmw (Industrial) (OP)
21 Apr 11 5:45
You can always sponsor an invitation-only forum yourself e.g. like "Pat's Pub" that you see on the home page, ("The Powder Room?") You can then invite who you like or vet those that apply to join....

Not sure that PC rules can reach into cyberspace and frown on a  forum that discriminates against men.... but they all do in some way or another.
I can't see a problem.
If Eng-Tips refused to accept women, then there would be an issue.
But I'd say it's like tennis. So long as you have a women's tournament as well as a men's tournament and a mixed, everyone is happy because everyone gets to play tennis.
So if there is a women only forum, so what? Good luck to the ladies.

There should be no problem setting up a men only forum too but I can't see the need.
The whole point of this thread is that engineering (and many other professions) behave like they are men only anyway and where the girls have to be just like "one of the boys" and accept lewd comments and innuendo etc. to get along. Yuk.

Except, of course, that Eng-Tips is rather more egalitarian than the real world workplace (though not with out occasional bursts of chauvinism - yes, guilty as charged). wink

 

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com

 

lisa247 (Aerospace)
21 Apr 11 6:49
I suppose a women only forum could be seen as discriminatory against men if was just a "women only" forum for discussing Engnieering/handbag/knitting related topics.  What I was talking about was a forum where women could chat specifically about things that are related to being a woman in a predominantly male environment.  I would still use all of the other forums for asking/reading technical questions.  I'm not going to set one up anyway as I wouldn't have a clue where to start, it was just an idea really! My first thread would probably be entitled "should you say something if someone talks to your chest rather than your face?", if a man wants to respond to this then he can do, I wasn't thinking of banning all men from replying smile

Lisa
KENAT (Mechanical)
21 Apr 11 10:23
Lisa, that would probably be ideal fodder for one of the 2 forums in corporate survival.  

There has been the odd controversy before about some female posters being perceived as acting like damsels in distress and some of the male posters that reply acting like knights in shining armor but hopefully with some careful wording of the OP that could be avoided.

As to the lewd comments JMW, hey I had to put up with them from my first supervisor so why shouldn't the ladies toowinky smile.

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lacajun (Electrical)
21 Apr 11 11:33
Lisa247, I haven't figured out how to handle men that talk to the chest either.  Some don't get it even when they are told brutally honestly about what they are doing.  One such man didn't get it even after being fired for inappropriately propositioning a female operator.  Yeah, he knew it was wrong but didn't think it was "that" wrong and would do it again.  Humanity is an interesting study.  :)
jmw (Industrial) (OP)
21 Apr 11 12:30
Meanwhile spare a thought for the poor bloke trapped in the photo-copying room by the very attractive blonde lady engineer who had just borrowed Crane 410 (metric) from him and now proceeded to pull up her pullover to show the bruises on her ribs from her dance class..... blush

It's not all a one way street.....
 

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com

 

KENAT (Mechanical)
21 Apr 11 12:40
I'll share you the pain of bringing up the issues I had with Jane again, suffice to say in this day and age though it's not just a 2 way street it's more of a multiple freeway intersection ala spaghetti junction.

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lacajun (Electrical)
21 Apr 11 19:54
I realize there are some problem women.  I watched one that I didn't like much because she was a prude.  She was so much a prude she chastised a young, single man for nicely complimenting a cute waitress at a sports bar.  He wasn't offensive nor was the waitress offended.  I wondered how she was ever going to conceive, if she ever married.
casseopeia (Structural)
22 Apr 11 13:22
What women find encouraging (or discouraging) I would think is pretty much the same as your average, straight, white, male engineer.  I'm not going to jump into the sociological analysis of why more women do not enter the field.  But from a female perspective, here are the things that I have found encouraging to stay in my career.

Bosses, supervisors or mentors who were patient with their explanations of what they expected me to do and did not mind occasionally having to repeat those instructions.

Bosses, supervisors or mentors asking me if there is anything I need to do my job better, and then making an effort to obtain it.

Co-workers of all levels who asked for my opinion, did not automatically discount my thoughts and implemented my suggestions or design.

Co-workers and Supervisors who gave me credit for my suggestions or design and did not steal it or take credit for themselves.

Managers who encouraged teamwork and quashed schoolyard antics such as one engineer inviting everyone on the team, except for one singled out individual, to a party or other event outside of the workplace.  This is an important one and not easy to enforce, but it is possible.  I know because I have been a victim as a junior team member and have punished such things as a manager.  This one is so important to me that I make a point of mentioning it at project initiation meetings.  I expect my team members to act as a unit with a common goal, to respect each other at the work place as well as in their private life.


Things that have had absolutely no effect on my desire to stay in my field, even though they get a lot of press.

A co-worker asking me out on a date.

Other co-workers teasing me about going out on a date with someone at work.

A co-worker telling a dirty joke or making some obscene reference.

Someone consistently using a male pronoun when the gender of the unknown individual could be either.

Swearing.

"Gorgeous hair is the best revenge."  Ivana Trump

lisa247 (Aerospace)
26 Apr 11 3:15
jmw I think the scenario you talked about is just a case of bad professional conduct, its not different in my eyes to a man showing a woman his latest tattoo on his rear end.  OK so it might be a nice rear end in some peoples eyes.......

So have we come to any conclusion here then? haha.  Perhaps i'd be better off just having lots of children and baking lots of cakes...
jmw (Industrial) (OP)
26 Apr 11 6:00
Conclusion or hope? Just that we don't want to go to the opposite extreme where no one dare note that some of their co-workers are of a different sex nor talk about anything but work.... and we should remember that many people meet their life partners at work, where would we be without that?

Bad professional conduct?
Not so sure about that one. Many of us poor blokes have no way of interpreting the meaning of what women say and do.
It could have meant "I fancy you". Or simply, "look at my bruises." (I never meant anything else by it, whatever gave you the idea that I did? - does it help understand if no bruises were evident?).
Worst of all, it might mean, "I think you're "safe"."
And some of us MMs wouldn't know the difference between a bunny girl and a bunny boiler and in such situations a quick exit is the safest course no matter what the real meaning.

But I understand when you would prefer not to be shown a tattooed butt - yuk!

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com

 

lisa247 (Aerospace)
26 Apr 11 6:30
"Conclusion or hope? Just that we don't want to go to the opposite extreme where no one dare note that some of their co-workers are of a different sex nor talk about anything but work.... and we should remember that many people meet their life partners at work, where would we be without that?"

I totally agree with you, of course there are instances where people are attracted to each other.

All women know that pulling up their top is going to get some kind of reaction from men, whether there are bruises there or not.  We dont know how far she pulled her top up but if it was enough to make you blush and decide to make a sharp exit then to me that's not a very professional thing to do as she put you in an awkward situation.  

 
lacajun (Electrical)
26 Apr 11 10:38
I worked with an older consulting engineer early in my career.  I leaned back in my chair once and put my hands behind my head as we discussed technical aspects of the project.  He immediately said my chest was exciting him and he found it distracting.  I am not well endowed by anyone's standards.  But, I immediately put my hands in my lap and straightened up in my chair.  The technical discussion continued.

You never know what will "get" them.  :)  But it's a good policy to work with them and be considerate.
SNORGY (Mechanical)
30 Apr 11 12:42
The women engineers I have worked with have all had the following going for them:

(1) They were smarter than me and just about everyone else.
(2) They showed great poise and character under pressure.
(3) They were not easily intimidated by other authority figures.
(4) They had a presence about them that commanded respect.
(5) They had a certain knack by which men were not quick to enter into heated arguments with them.
(6) They were better looking than me (OK I had to offer one token "OINK" statement).

I don't know, but anyone who treats even an average woman engineer like crap is really only making himself look like an idiot.

Treat them nice enough and they will even make you coffee.  (OK...so two token "OINK" statements...)

Seriously...I have come to know women engineers as by and large superior to me in many respects, with both brains and guts to acquit themselves well in a "man's" environment, whether in the office or in the field.  We would do well to listen to them when they talk...and to bring *them* the coffee once in a while.

(Triple "OINK".)

Regards,

SNORGY.

clickster (Aerospace)
3 May 11 17:20
Throughout my education and my (so-far) 3 yr career, I have already heard several comments towards women engineers that go something like "You can't do XYZ because you're a girl" or "Why the hell do they keep hiring them for, their job is to stay home".  They weren't respected in the company I worked for and they were given menial/secretarial work even though they were hired into an engineering position (despite their intellect and talent).  There were also a few that were sexually harassed.  I don't think it surprises me that they are deciding to opt out of this field.   

On the other hand, I have also seen favoritism towards women from professors.  I have seen a boss give a "once in a lifetime engineering opportunity" to an inexperienced, unskilled, new-hire female over the highly experienced, qualified co-workers just because he was impressed with her looks.  And after she got her "reward" she left the group for management.

I think it goes without saying that not all companies or men are this way but every women should know what they may have to deal with before they choose a field.

Hiring someone or promoting someone should be based on skills, talent, qualifications, etc....nothing else, including gender or looks.  
GregLocock (Automotive)
3 May 11 19:09
"And after she got her "reward" she left the group for management."

So it worked? Honestly your note merely reminds me that anecdote!=data, and frankly sounds more like bitching than anecdote.

Cheers

Greg Locock


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clickster (Aerospace)
4 May 11 11:26
Let me just add that the boss who chose her regretted doing so since he thought she would stick around longer...He kept sharing his story years after it happened, that's the only way I know about it.  This incident didn't affect me in anyway since I wasn't around when it happened. Hence anecdote = data, not anecdote = bitchiness.
lacajun (Electrical)
4 May 11 13:09
clickster, I've watched men do the same thing.  You never know what is going on with people so you take risks and hope for the best.
jmw (Industrial) (OP)
4 May 11 14:55
Clickster,

Quote:

I have seen a boss give a "once in a lifetime engineering opportunity" to an inexperienced, unskilled, new-hire female over the highly experienced, qualified co-workers just because he was impressed with her looks.  And after she got her "reward" she left the group for management.
Lacajun is right.
Take out female, or even new hire female, and you have a common enough situation where the wrong people get the credit and the promotions.
Brown-nosers are good at this.
In a way, the fact that this was a new hire female is almost a refreshing, understandable and tolerable change.
By that I mean that I can understand a bloke being unduly influenced to hire an attractive female, but I am far less happy when the boss promotes some sycophantic suck-up.

AND: you may suspect she is an innocent who possibly might feel a bit sensitive that she has got the job for the wrong reasons and that she has been done no favours if it she isn't up to the job.
In this case,kudos for getting out as she did.

On the other hand, the brown-noser will be busy as ever stabbing everyone in the back, will have no regrets and doesn't care that the job is beyond him(her) because chances are they were no good at the job they did before. Of course, once they reach management level being a complete waste of space will no longer be a risk factor for them..

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com

 

lacajun (Electrical)
4 May 11 15:56

Quote:

but every women should know what they may have to deal with before they choose a field.

I heartily agree!  I thought I did understand, too.  After all, I have family members and friends of the male persuasion.  An uncle warned me against getting an engineering degree because men cannot accept intelligent or educated women.  I've since learned some men can.

An older engineer, now retired, said very similar words as yours to me as a young engineer.  He had let out of string of expletives, which I was personally familiar with, and was summarily chastised by the estimator for his outburst.  The engineer explained I should expect that from men in a male dominated field.  He further claimed if I hadn't, that I shouldn't have entered engineering.  I agreed with him 100%.  Still do.

I always thought engineers to be a rather "pristine" lot.  Consequently, what I didn't anticipate from engineers, from the male of the species, was bad politics.  I anticipated good politics focused on the job.  What I got I couldn't have anticipated, which is why I seriously contemplate writing about my experiences.  I am not unique and I bet girls contemplating engineering cannot see what's ahead either.

What I know today is that bad politics doesn't know any boundaries.  Good politics doesn't either, thankfully.
KENAT (Mechanical)
4 May 11 16:03
Um, I'm not sure it's just women that would benefit of having a better understanding of "what they may have to deal with before they choose a field".  I see much of the same 'politics' if you want to call it that, that I've heard others complain about in other fields.

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lacajun (Electrical)
4 May 11 17:14
Kenat, I agree but this thread is about women and I am a woman, which means I have zero experience being a man in a man's world.  There have been a few days I wished to be a man but only a few.  :)
KENAT (Mechanical)
4 May 11 17:46
Yeah, peeing standing up comes in handy occasionally lacajunwinky smile.

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lacajun (Electrical)
4 May 11 17:54
I have a Lady J for just such purposes.  Wanna' see who can pee the furtherest?  :D

I apologize for that but couldn't help myself.  I'm an old backpacker and don't have too many issues w/ some stuff.  Perhaps I should.......
lacajun (Electrical)
4 May 11 18:02
I made a mistake......it is not a Lady J but a Sani Fresh Freshette.  It comes in handy in civilization, too, when facilities are too nasty to use.  Yuck!
lisa247 (Aerospace)
5 May 11 6:16
jmw - you are incredibly sexist!

Lisa
jmw (Industrial) (OP)
5 May 11 7:40
Hi Lisa247,
Probably, but it isn't intentionally so.... is it something I've said?pig

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com

 

lisa247 (Aerospace)
5 May 11 8:55
"By that I mean that I can understand a bloke being unduly influenced to hire an attractive female, but I am far less happy when the boss promotes some sycophantic suck-up."

What if the woman was a 'sycophantic suck-up'?  You have just basically said that you think its acceptable for people to hire women purely based on how they look.

Lisa  

 
jmw (Industrial) (OP)
5 May 11 9:11
Ah, no. I didn't express it very well.

I don't actually condone either behaviour but I do like to put things in  perspective.

My SB (SO) likes to treat all things equally. Nuclear war and a split nail all get the same response. I try to assess things according to their relative significance in my life.

Being a man with all the vulnerabilities that go with it, a bad management decision, perhaps even pushed by HR to fill quota's is at least understandable. It is a weakness that shouldn't normally be too disastrous.

But it shows a far greater lack of management skills, and a greater weakness of character when a manager is taken in by that most recognisable of behaviours, the brown-noser (male or female).

It was evident in this case that the fault was one sided. The women who got the job soon left it.

We might suppose she didn't find she was able to do thee work and recognised that she got the job for the wrong reasons. She left the job. She also, it appears, made the idiot who hired her look a bit stupid.
The brown-noser probably knows full well he is unable to do the job but has deliberately followed a path to get this job. He then will not relinquish it except for a better job and certainly consolidates the new found position by stabbing as many people as possible.
Believe me, when you have been the victim of a brown-noser who actively harms you and your career, you tend not to worry so much about some of the other stupid decisions management make.
That was what I meant.

I know, as Lacajan reminds us, the purpose of this thread is to discuss women engineers, but not all the problems are of equal significance.

But you are probably right that I am an MCP, I like to think a sympathetic one, but it is in my genes! pig

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com

 

lisa247 (Aerospace)
5 May 11 9:32
I think most people prefer working with nice people to working with brown nosers, but I dont see how hiring someone because they are attractive is any more acceptable than hiring someone because they are brown nosers.  Your opinion on this might be different if you were the person who didnt get the job because you weren't as good looking as the useless idiot you were up against!

Just out of interest, what was your reasoning for starting this thread in the first place?

Lisa
Deacy (Civil/Environmental)
5 May 11 10:57
Have we come to a point where the personell dept has to have a second checklist hidden under the desk? The top one measures competence, education and skils to do the job; the second has questions on "Is theis potential employee going to be distractingly attractive? Can we fill the race / gender / ethnic  / sexual preference  / minority quota with this one? Will we have to put in separate toilet facilities because the law says so? Will there be future maternity issues?" Encourage more people generally into every work environment certainly, but people have to be comfortable knowing they can have a work life balance and make their job work for thir life not the other way around. A large percentage of men and women of childbearing age want to have children and it is true to say that while it may not harm the father's career in any way the mother will have to reassess her priorities. Engineering is not known for breast feeding rooms / on the job creches / flexible working hours and family day. Old fashioned? Sexist? maybe but true nevertheless.Women want to have it all - when men give birth we will.
lacajun (Electrical)
5 May 11 12:01

Quote:

Believe me, when you have been the victim of a brown-noser who actively harms you and your career, you tend not to worry so much about some of the other stupid decisions management make.

You are so right.  I've experienced this multiple times and it is very destructive.  Others can ruin your reputation before you even understand what they're doing.  That happens to men and women.

To demonstrate that I empathize with men, a young man I worked with was bright, happy-go-lucky, good personality, good work ethic, etc.  People in management didn't like him.  He was told, at the urinal, by a manager that his career had gone as far as it was going to go with the company.  What kind of power play is that amongst men?

That kind of stuff is schoolyard bully garbage in a more "refined" setting.
lisa247 (Aerospace)
6 May 11 3:41
Deacy - are you suggesting then that women should not persue a career in Engineering then?  Or have I misunderstood your point?

Lisa
SNORGY (Mechanical)
6 May 11 3:47
@ lacajun:

My response, as I looked down, would have been:

"Wow! These facilities are clean! As I look down, I can actually see *your* reflection!"

But...that's just me...

Regards,

SNORGY.

indme (Mechanical)
8 May 11 2:53
Greg,

No way do I think that introducing cheaper labor at home is a way to counter low-cost foreign competition! I want to keep our wages up.

Another comment by another poster was 'isn't that what H1-B visas are for?' Yes!

Corporations complain that they can't get enough engineering labor and need umpteen thousand H1B visas. Engineers complain due to being out of work, but no one listens, but no one plays the sex card. IEEE has even posted position papers on the topic; no more H1-B'S until the need is proven. If 50,000 women engineers were out of work and complaining about foreign engineers being chosen over local female engineers, Congress would be forced to act. If a group like IEEE or ASME, perceived to be a bunch of majority WM's, complain, no one listens.  
GregLocock (Automotive)
8 May 11 7:36
So which part of economics 101 doesn't apply?

You say you want to increase the price of a commodity (our wages) by increasing the supply of that commodity by encouraging "innovators of all sexes, races and ages to enter the engineering workforce".

Conventional theory would predict the opposite.

Cheers

Greg Locock


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lacajun (Electrical)
9 May 11 14:12

Quote:

If 50,000 women engineers were out of work and complaining about foreign engineers being chosen over local female engineers, Congress would be forced to act.

@indme, they wouldn't act.  I've been called a "token" countless times in the workplace and nothing happened.  I discussed a number of issues much worse than being called a "token" with HR over the years to find resolutions without calling lawyers but nothing happened.  Nothing will happen until all in the engineering community band together to get things changed.  It seems strength in numbers is what gets attention.
KENAT (Mechanical)
9 May 11 14:59
Until you abuse the power that comes with that strength and undermine your own position, like some unions seem to have done to some extent in some segments/employers - after all, power corrupts.

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lacajun (Electrical)
16 May 11 17:07
And this young lady is learning the naysayers exist in her generation.

Teen Who Challenged Bachmann to Constitutional/Civics Debate Running for Class President
Helpful Member!  josephv (Mechanical)
13 Jun 11 13:19

Here are some interesting articles about a young woman (currently studying engineering in Princeton) who has developed an interesting invention:

http://www.thestar.com/business/cleanbreak/article/1005586--hamilton-solving-energy-problems-with-girl-power

http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/shines+Calgary+student+inventor/4897543/story.html
GregLocock (Automotive)
13 Jun 11 19:33
More (solar) power to her elbow, but so what, in the context of this thread?

Cheers

Greg Locock


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josephv (Mechanical)
16 Jun 11 13:07
Here is another article on Eden Full the young woman studying Engineering at Princeton who invented a $20 solar tracking system.

http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=1564

BTW, not sure I follow your question, Greg (although I do enjoy Australian expressions), but it certainly is an interesting story about a woman engineer (or in this case engineering student).

cheers,
GregLocock (Automotive)
16 Jun 11 21:06
An article about a solar tracker invention seems to have zero relevance to this thread, unless you think we are supposed to stand back in amazement and gasp when a woman invents something.

Cheers

Greg Locock


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FeX32 (Mechanical)
17 Jun 11 2:03

Quote:

you think we are supposed to stand back in amazement and gasp when a woman invents something

I'm with Greg.  

peace
Fe

josephv (Mechanical)
17 Jun 11 9:49
I have to respectfully disagree, because the story reminds me of two important points:

1) Despite the challenges and sometimes outright discrimination there are many successful cases of women in engineering.

2) There has been progress compared to a few decades ago when discrimination was far worse. If it had not been for this progress our profession would have not benefitted from the substantial contribution of so many women who chose our profession. And maybe we would not have had Eden Full studying engineering and create her invention.
  
We should celebrate these achievements, but also acknowledge that discrimination is still a problem and see what can be done.
 
jmw (Industrial) (OP)
18 Jun 11 7:09
We live and learn.... apparently even seemingly innocent or at best, unconscious behaviour is a factor:
http://www.bnet.com/blog/health-fit-tips/is-8220subtle-sexism-8221-rampant-in-your-office/995?tag=sec-river3
At least I know not to whistle....  

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com

 

lacajun (Electrical)
18 Jun 11 17:02
jmw, I think some are valid points but others are grasping at straws.  Many of those comments can be turned around and stated to men and some will be offended.
KENAT (Mechanical)
22 Jun 11 17:02
However, that's true for much of the report you post in your 30 May 11 23:50 post.

Most of the reasons they left were things that men face too.  Perhaps the implication was women have a lower tolerance for them but in the bits of it I read that didn't leap out at me.

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lacajun (Electrical)
22 Jun 11 20:10
KENAT, I agree.  No doubt many issues cut across gender lines.  I think women do have a lower tolerance and speak their minds more freely.  Perhaps that's because we are "more" verbal.
KM (Mechanical)
19 Jul 11 10:21
I want to pursue KENAT's observation of 21 Mar 11 14:44 above: "Why should we encourage more women, or any other identifiable group, into engineering essentially at the expense of other 'over represented' groups?"  

Indeed, why should we?  

There is an assumption out there that if there are fewer women than men in engineering then the *ONLY* explanation is that there are some sort of invisible, yet almost infinitely strong, "barriers" preventing greater female participation. Any other explanation (e.g. that women, on average, just aren't that interested in engineering) is rejected----because such alternate explanations fail to prop up the ideology that males and females are totally interchangeable on all levels.  

According to that ideology, all differences between little girls and little boys are simply due to nefarious parental influences that must be removed in order to bring about a gender-free utopia on earth.  

You think I'm joking---but I'm not.  For example, see the following Globe and Mail article about the gender-free nursery school in Sweden:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/the-hot-button/no-him-or-hers-allowed-is-a-gender-free-preschool-going-too-far/article2076480/

In fact, if one makes arguments to the effect that little boys tend to be better and more interested in math and physics and little girls better and more interested in verbal pursuits and relationships, then one can end up sneered as as being an "essentialist."  

I'm all for removing unjust discrimination wherever it exists---but that was done decades ago in engineering.  The percent of female engineers now simply reflects the true and natural level of interest in engineering amonst women---i.e. something like 15%.  If hordes of women are not flocking to enginering its because they just aren't that interested.  They're never going to achieve "gender equality" of 50/50, and it's not because of "barriers".   
Helpful Member!  SLTA (Structural)
19 Jul 11 13:25
KM,

Good try.

Women don't flock to engineering because girls are told they suck at math and science starting really early.  I had to fight to be allowed to take the math and science I did, all because I'm female.  How many times has your expertise been questioned because of your gender?  How many times have you been appointed the meeting note-taker because of your gender?  It is in little, insidious ways like this that girls are taught not to be anything mathematical or scientific.

And in response to your comment: "I'm all for removing unjust discrimination wherever it exists---but that was done decades ago in engineering." - tell that to the young architect who refused to listen to my engineering comments in the field.  His exact comment was "Well, let's wait until the REAL engineer gets here."

Right.
cranky108 (Electrical)
19 Jul 11 13:29
The term identifiable group, leads me to think that people form groups because of some commonality. And we all know of the natural commonalities of race gender, simular background, etc.,  (the exception should be department, or business structure). But it looks like the commonalities are a restraint of thought. That people of simular mind would tend to achieve simular thoughts, and thus outcomes. Which is the percise reason engineering groups should be people of different identifiable groups, so as the scheve a greater range of ideas and projected outcomes.

The term identifiable groups, therefore should not be applied to engineering.
lacajun (Electrical)
19 Jul 11 15:16
sita, I was never discouraged in HS from taking math and science.  I excelled in them but I think the real difference was the teachers.  My HS math teachers, men, had daughters and my HS science teacher was a woman, with a son and daughter.  She was tough as nails, too, and told me "don't ever let anyone get to you and make you cry again."  I grew up in a very small community, which was five miles from the K-12 school; consequently, any discouragement from college prep courses would have eliminated classes.  The school was so small it couldn't offer physics.  My childhood conditions were known, which may have been another factor because I can't remember getting much discouragement with math and science ever.  What I remember most was encouragement to do better because I would often not do my best, sometimes far from it.  My childhood was very confusing.  Life is very dynamic, which is why I don't think we'll ever really know "cause and effect" in many situations with people.  Often people don't think about the motivation(s) behind action(s).

KM, discrimination in engineering is alive and well.  A manager discriminated against me because I am "good lookin'."  That's what he said not my view of me.  I've been told one of my biggest problems is that I am female and I've heard that many times.  I've heard stuff from men that makes me feel all dirty.  I've been told countless times another problem of mine is that I am smart, too smart.  Too smart for a woman.  I am not smart but I have worked very hard, long hours to get experience and education.

I don't believe in gender equality and never will.  We are different and I am glad we are.  Men have a lot to offer women, once they figure out how to be men.  :)
jmw (Industrial) (OP)
19 Jul 11 20:03
Well, one thing's for sure, we'll never figure out women!

Quote:

....another problem of mine is that I am smart, too smart.  Too smart for a woman.

I know I've taken this out of its true context, but it made me think:

With most people without barriers or discrimination we get a full spectrum of talents: good, bad, indifferent and an occasional exceptional. For male engineers, perhaps.

But if I judge by the quality of those women engineers I've met, the barriers and obstructions and the disincentives all seem to act as a filter so those that do come through do seem to be the cream of the crop. Perhaps this is a fair observation or perhaps it is just that the "novelty" of women engineers has made them stand out in my experience rather more.

One problem in this may be that we are a multi-national group which hasn't yet attempted to discern any differences between different cultures.

It may be that some of the comment here that seems not quite to jell with our own experiences is because we don't know the cultural contexts for each of the comments.

It might be interesting to explore cultural differences relative to the comments so far made.

For example, I imagine that the UK environment is still far from being gender neutral in attitudes. In both the US and the UK, two world Wars did something to change the traditional "role" or view of women but perhaps not enough.

On the other hand I suspect that in Russia, women engineers are more common and might possibly compete on a more level playing field. But that is perhaps coloured by my own experiences which perhaps by chance meant a higher proportion of women engineers. - one of our Russian agencies was headed up by a woman engineer and had a very capable (and attractive) woman engineer in a key role. A pattern that has repeated elsewhere in other (old) East Block countries I have dealt with.

My problem is that maybe I have just being seeing the cream and maybe my attitude isn't what everyone would like it to be so maybe I don't see it as it is.  

PS there ain't no such thing as too good looking.... but in a way I understand the comment because it has crept in on a couple of other threads.
In a male dominated environment it may well be a challenge for some to take seriously or to be un-distracted by smart good looking women. But that is not the fault of the woman but a comment on the male problems of control and professional respect.

What I really wonder is how tough it has been for some of the women who started out in engineering many years ago and who are now mature but at the top of their profession or industry. Is it any easier now or not? Will we see many more women reaching the top in the coming years (and possibly out of proportion to the general representation if I'm right that just the cream is coming through at the moment).

It also seems that so far the discussion has primarily looked at the difficulties of an equal work/job status environment.
But, will it be any easier with more women bosses?
Is it easier for a woman to work for a woman?
How do men respond to working for women engineers?

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com

 

KENAT (Mechanical)
19 Jul 11 20:17
Well as for the 'your beauty is a distraction', that isn't confined to engineering.  I saw a TV segment about a woman on wall street who got the same treatment, and it didn't sound like it was unique to her or her field.

Now, one might think it might be more of an issue in male dominated fields such as engineering, but then again other fields that were once male dominated are now much more equal, so if it is more of an issue in engineering then why?

Plus during my schooling it seemed those of the female persuasion were actively encouraged in math and science as much as the boys.  Though of course, not being a female I probably didn't pay as much attention. I certainly don't recall being told not to worry about language skills or even typing because I was a boy.  As I've mentioned before, toward the end of high school and at uni the ladies actually got more encouragement to go into engineering etc. than the boys from what I could see.

This topic actually came up with one of the ladies in our software dept at our weakly coffee & donuts session last week.  Sadly she was unable to contribute much beyond what has been said here, she did agree with the issue that maybe a lot of women have a lower tolerance for some of the general frustrations of the job.  It also seemed that ladies are slightly more common in software development than in say mechanical engineering.  

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jmw (Industrial) (OP)
19 Jul 11 20:43
Damn, my next post got wiped before it got posted.... lets try again...

Kenat, I wasn't aware we were considering engineering in comparison with other occupations, just trying to work out how good or bad things are in engineering. For all I know, engineering may be among the more favourable occupations, though I wouldn't count on it.

When I was a kid, girls did domestic science (cooking and needlework) and boys did woodwork or metalwork. Later on, technical drawing.

I'm guessing art was gender neutral.  

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com

 

KENAT (Mechanical)
19 Jul 11 20:59
Surely comparing to to other occupation should be done to some extent to see what if anything is engineering specific, and what is more general?  Given that some other occupations that earlier last century were male dominated have achieved, or exceeded parity (at least in UK & US by the looks of it) doesn't it make sense to consider what is fundamentally different about engineering.

That is if you subscribe to the opinion that all professions should have near parity.

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lacajun (Electrical)
19 Jul 11 23:07
jmw, it is surprising that you'll "never" figure out women.

I don't think WWI and WWII changed the role of women that much.  My paternal grandmother worked outside the home and her mother ran her own business most of her adult life.  She had to as my great-grandfather was a scoundrel.  My maternal grandmother worked alongside my grandfather in the cotton fields.  My mother and her sisters were working prior to WWII.  Women have always worked in my opinion and not sat around eating bonbons and drinking champagne.  winky smile

Men are discriminated against, too.  Some men have no desire to be part of the Good Ol' Boys Club any more than some women do.  I have male friends that don't use foul language and don't drink.  Those attitudes set them apart from the "herd."  It isn't just women who receive cruddy treatment but this thread is about women.

I know women from the cream and not so cream that have stuck with engineering.  From my conversations with these women, they enjoyed engineering school and they enjoy engineering as a profession.  They do not enjoy being treated as though they are second class engineers and citizens.

I've been at this 20+ years.  It didn't get easier as I went; it got worse.  As I learned, men began to understand I was not a mere token but did, indeed, have a brain and used it.  The secure-with-themselves engineers have not been a problem and I remain in contact with them.  Some male engineers are jerks and those are the problem children.

I've worked for one female engineer and it was a very good experience.  She set expectations and got out of the way.  We got along fine.  She worked hard and didn't politic.  The men didn't like working for her because of her gender and they thought she was a bit clueless.  The real problem, as I saw it, she was smart and not a bit clueless.  They couldn't get away with much and they wanted her job.  In my estimation, they were unqualified for her job.

I've worked for some outstanding male supervisors, too.  Those men I have a high degree of respect and admiration for.  Those men also have daughters and not too many sons.  I don't believe that made them partial to women or our issues but that it enabled them to know how to treat women respectfully and understand we have capabilities.

If female operators are any indication, more female bosses will not make it better.  Women can be jerks just like men.  Listen to women in female dominated fields.

Therefore, in my opinion, it will always come down to the individual and the choices they make about who and how they want to be as a human.  You either want to do the right thing by all people and work at it or you do not.

KENAT, I have female engineering friends that went the high tech route and they've had very few issues and women tend to go that route more so than old, heavy manufacturing, from what I've noted.  I went into old, heavy manufacturing and have endured too many problems.  So many I have contemplated leaving the field twice.  They can't believe the garbage I've run into and that I put up with it for so long.

I don't know that all fields have parity.  I've not reviewed stats or looked for them.  I have often been the only female engineer or female EE in my little sphere of manufacturing.  Some women have trouble with that.  I didn't.
KENAT (Mechanical)
19 Jul 11 23:20
lacajun, going from memory the % of women in software according to the stats we found was something like double that in mechanical.

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josephv (Mechanical)
21 Jul 11 15:49
Something that has not been covered is that the percentage of engineers who are women significantly varies in different countries.

In China, 40% of engineers are women. In Sweden it's 26%.

However, in the UK only 9% of engineers are women and in Australia it's 11%.

Here are some articles on this topic:

http://www.paristechreview.com/2010/09/29/why-more-women-engineers/

http://www.newelectronics.co.uk/electronics-news/uk-has-half-as-many-women-engineers-as-other-european-countries/24476/
jmw (Industrial) (OP)
21 Jul 11 18:39
Thank you Josephv, good links. Most interesting to find that in Russia, from holding a majority of engineering posts women are now in decline..... would have been nice to have some insights into the Chinese situation.

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com

 

Helpful Member!(2)  moltenmetal (Chemical)
22 Jul 11 13:51
We shouldn't be encouraging anyone to become an engineer unless they're passionate about it and have voluntarily demonstrated the aptitude for it.  Doesn't matter if they're male or female.  Too many kids study engineering simply because they're good at math and science and someone told them engineering was a good gig.


We should NOT be targeting a complete balance between the sexes in engineering by encouraging girls to go to engineering school, any more than we should be curbing women's enrolments in medical schools to achieve that balance (yes, it's swung in the other direction).  There's a huge difference between providing opportunity to all and expecting equal participation.


I was mentored by and studied with some excellent female engineers.  That experience helps to dispel some of the societal stereotypes that can colour people's attitudes.  But if the perceived barriers to entry into our male-dominated profession act as a filter, it's a very imperfect filter.  I've met many female engineers who were, in objective terms, really lousy at the technical aspects of their jobs.


I've had lip and attitude and other inappropriate behaviour from others that I'm sure, if I were female, I would have attributed to sexism.  If I were a visible minority, I might attribute those same behaviours to racism or xenophobia.   In reality, they were a result of the people involved basically being equal opportunity @ssholes.  I'm not denying that sexism exists- clearly it does, in engineering as in all other aspects of society.  I'm merely saying that 'isms are a convenient explanation for @sshole behaviour when the victim is already feeling insecure because they are identifiably different than the normative majority.


Sex segregation can tend to exascerbate undesirable behavioural tendencies associated with either sex.  It happens in sex-segregated schools and near-unisex workplaces for both sexes.  It would not surprise me at all if male engineers were more sexist than the average university educated male, and that would have consequences for female engineers they work with.  But I'm sure that you'd find male plumbers to be a great deal more sexist on average than male engineers.  It's important to realize that these normative tendencies on the part of groups of people say NOTHING whatsoever about who we are as individuals.  
 
josephv (Mechanical)
22 Jul 11 14:24
Here is another interesting article:

"The under-representation of women in engineering continues to be a cause of grave concern, particularly as international competitiveness and homeland security focus attention on the need to increase native participation in the U.S. science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce. Comprising 56 percent of all undergraduate and 58 percent of all graduate students, women represent only 20 percent of B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees awarded in engineering (Freeman, 2004; National Science Foundation, 2004)."

http://www.urban.org/publications/1001337.html

International competitiveness is a good point considering that:
In China, 40% of engineers are women. In the West, the numbers are around 20% (Sweden on the higher end at 26%, UK on the low end at 9%).
cranky108 (Electrical)
23 Jul 11 23:54
Strangly, there are a good deal of women in engineering support roles, but few technications (at least in the electrical field).

And the same is true in the area of line persons, and equipment operators.

Could there be a common thread?
lacajun (Electrical)
25 Jul 11 16:50
cranky108, I know one female instrument hand that faced men trying to get her terminated because she couldn't lift 50 lbs. like a man.  She had a bad back just like some men do, who can't lift 50 lbs.  That didn't seem to matter to those men.  She stuck with it and moved into a management position.  She is a hard worker and stays out of trouble.  I say good for her!  smile

What was the problem with the men?  They viewed her as taking a man's job and men have families to support.  Ah-ha, but not all men do and that was true in their little world.  If she can't do the job a man could do, then she shouldn't be in the position.  I agree.  But, technically she was competent, with one physical limitation.  She was also a single mother, which they objected to because that would cause her to miss work.  They thought she should be married.  It didn't matter that she had no support system beyond her own capabilities.  They also objected to her desire to have more children because that would distract her from the tasks at hand, cause her to miss work, etc.  Would it help, if I mentioned she was also drop dead gorgeous?

Oddly enough, the most vocal man wound up with some of the same issues.  He ate crow pie for awhile and gradually came around to being an OK kinda' guy.  I was very glad because I had to work with his group a lot.

I know another female instrument hand that was viewed as technically weak; however, she was stronger technically than her male counterpart.  I worked with both and knew their capabilities.
cranky108 (Electrical)
25 Jul 11 18:48
You hit on a good point, why would anyone want to stay in a job they felt unconfortable with. However, it may not be completly the good ol'boys club. I think there is also some respect issues from managment for those positions (Managers tend to look at where they want to go, and not at who is supporting them).

So maybe that is why we seem to have better results with contractors than internal people for some things.

 
lacajun (Electrical)
25 Jul 11 23:20
She was comfortable with the job and some men didn't mind helping her.  They viewed her back as they would view a man's bad back.  That's what I would expect but we don't all operate with the same life views.  Her long term goal was to move into management and she made it in good time, too.  There are Boys' Clubs in the hourly ranks, too.  Bad discrimination doesn't know boundaries.

The contractors that worked for me were pretty good at getting some things done because they had the freedom to cut to the meat of the matter.  Some direct employees fear doing that because some managers do retaliate and when they do, it's not "pretty."  Managers can get away with some nasty tactics because they're management thus untouchable.

After all, TheTick's first post got a lot of stars pretty quickly so that individual nailed it.  We don't emerge from the womb knowing right from wrong and how to treat people properly.  We have to be taught.
cranky108 (Electrical)
26 Jul 11 9:23
"We don't emerge from the womb knowing right from wrong and how to treat people properly.  We have to be taught."

That is a very correct statment. But as children try to test the limits, I believe some adults also do.


Also true is that we tend to congrate with people like ourselves. And definition of ourselves seems to change with the situation. At least that is what I have noticed in myself (yea that's me in the corner with the weard people). It's not that I intend anything by congrating with people I like. It seems confortable.
lacajun (Electrical)
29 Jul 11 0:16
cranky108, I agree.  Some adults test limits.  I don't have problems with that.  I have problems with people thinking, wittingly or unwittingly, another person should be the object of their unresolved baggage.

I don't have problems with people blending into various groups.  If you are at a funeral, you don't act like you're at a party.  What I have problems with is a person's scale of values changing as they move from group to group.  Ethical behavior is not situational.  At least, to me it is not.  If you wouldn't "frag" a man, why "frag" a woman?  If you wouldn't set a man up for failure, why set a woman up for failure?  If you wouldn't circumvent a man, why circumvent a woman?

That's the way my little mind works.  Maybe I'm weird and you're weard, which must be a heap better.  smile
cranky108 (Electrical)
29 Jul 11 10:00
Like all top down models, business tends to attract a type of people to the top. And if someone gets in the way of these people, they have to watch out.

For anyone young in there profession who dosen't know this, it is a problem. Sort of like in school.

It is all about power and ego for them. Where as engineers we tend to think more of the real world.

After all we hear about accounting scandles, but not engineering scandles.
Dinosaur (Structural)
30 Sep 11 15:02
Sorry that I didn't have time to read all the posts above but I want to throw this out there.

Is it any more important to get women into engineering than it is to get men into hairdressing?  If so, why?
MiketheEngineer (Structural)
30 Sep 11 17:05
Diversity???  the latest buzz word in Human Resources - HR
Helpful Member!  SAITAETGrad (Aeronautics)
30 Sep 11 17:59
Hello Dinosaur,

Median wage of civil engineers in US:    $82,280
Median wage of hairdressers & similar: $26,510

I would also say that while women are now earning more degrees in men they are not well represented in engineering.  Our organizations are lacking the benefit of this educational prowess.  Any engineering manager would be happy to have a stronger pool of candidates.  Assuming enrollment levels hold,entrance requirements could be raised for universities and the profession would have a higher level of talent, creativity, and intelligence.  Even if schools opened more spots, there is a much greater need for engineers and related professionals than for many others.

Some will also say that women generally perform better than men as communicators and have design skills.

Further, engineers perhaps "rule the world" but they do so for the benefit of all society.  A diversity of perspective would seem to intuitively result in better products for all.
SNORGY (Mechanical)
1 Oct 11 0:48
It is far more important to get women into engineering than it is to get men into hair dressing.

Imagine what the world would be like for intelligent men everywhere if women continued to believe that "static head" was something that required water and hair spray...

Regards,

SNORGY.

SNORGY (Mechanical)
1 Oct 11 0:55
Now...before controversy erupts...for the record...

Some of the smartest people and best engineers I have ever worked with are women...

With senses of humour...and tolerance...

(I hope...)

Regards,

SNORGY.

cranky108 (Electrical)
1 Oct 11 1:07
"A diversity of perspective would seem to intuitively result in better products for all."

So how do you explain the vidio tape industry, where VHS beat out Batamax? The Batamax was the better product, but the VHS makers just out spent Batamax on advertising.

Don't get me wrong, diversity works to a point. But can be over run by other factors.

Example: The company I work for is hireing people, but one of the factors is if the person fits with the group that exists. Diversity could mean people who don't get along.

  
 
KENAT (Mechanical)
3 Oct 11 15:05
Dinosaur,

Did you have to pick hair dressing, couldn't you at least have picked something like Registered Nurses or similar?

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cranky108 (Electrical)
4 Oct 11 15:06
Maybe because there are so many male Registered Nurses already.

Strange that Barbers, are and aren't allowed to do some things hair dressers are allowed. How are they different?
Helpful Member!  graybeach (Structural)
7 Oct 11 11:54
Dinosaur's comment does show that subtle sexism exists in the engineering field.  Why am I paid about 10% less than two male engineers in my department who have about the same amount of experience and responsibility as I do, neither of whom have master's degrees, and one of whom I can engineer circles around?  Partly my fault for not negotiating hard enough when I started here. But partly not my fault.  The gray haired male engineer boss who hired me may have subconsciously believed that I should feel lucky to be paid so much more than a hair dresser.  
cranky108 (Electrical)
7 Oct 11 14:44
How about the theory that a manager can save a company money, by paying the least he has to to keep people.

Worked here for a while. Other managers started picking employees out of the group.

But basically if they believe you won't leave, they will continue to pay you less.

I don't know your conditions, but I have to call things from my perspective, and experence. While some people see negitive, some see positive.
KENAT (Mechanical)
12 Oct 11 10:19
graybeach, I've encountered similar and it's not 'cause I'm of the female persuasion.  Now perhaps in your case that is the reason, but I'm just pointing out that it may not be.

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SWmechE (Mechanical)
14 Oct 11 9:42
http://www.taramohr.com/10rules/

Kind of an interesting blog post outlining one woman's views on how women can become more successful.
GregLocock (Automotive)
16 Oct 11 23:10
I realise I'm not the target audience but is that blog really helpful? And in what way is it helpful to women engineers and not men?

Cheers

Greg Locock


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KENAT (Mechanical)
17 Oct 11 21:31
Quick read of that blog.

1.  Perhaps a tad sexist.

2.  I may be a brilliant Woman based on the opening paragraphs - who knew.

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beej67 (Civil/Environmental)
20 Oct 11 17:52
One thing I've definitely seen first hand, is the engineering field cannot seem to get their heads around the idea of maternity leave.  They'd rather not hire a woman at all than take the risk that she might get pregnant and need to spend 3 months away from work.  Women who are unmarried or not of birthing age seem to have a much easier time in the organizations I've worked in than married women of fertile age.

It's a tough nut to crack, because nobody wants to eat all that nonbillable time, but you can't exactly fire someone for getting pregnant.  

I think if more engineering companies got off their asses and started truly figuring out the telework stuff it'd be a near non issue.   

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KSor (Mechanical)
20 Oct 11 21:39
In Canada it's a year off work for maternity leave.  I have an employee now on mat leave, she has been gone for 10 months.  Not a problem, just hired someone on a 1 year contract to replace her while she's off.   
SWmechE (Mechanical)
21 Oct 11 16:31
For the blog I was wondering what other people's thoughts were.  I didn't see it applying just to women either and thought of a couple different people I work with while reading... myself included on a point or two.
lacajun (Electrical)
22 Oct 11 12:03

Quote:

SNORGY (Mechanical)    
1 Oct 11 0:48
It is far more important to get women into engineering than it is to get men into hair dressing.

Imagine what the world would be like for intelligent men everywhere if women continued to believe that "static head" was something that required water and hair spray...  

It was funny to me.  You have to maintain a sense of humor in life.  Without it, we'd be doomed.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC

controlnovice (Electrical)
15 Nov 11 12:22
My manager has been looking to fill 3 engineering positions over the last 9 months, and one of them over 12 months.

Just informed that he's offered, and the persons accepted, all 3 positions.

All three are women.

These are not specialist positions, but generic, small project engineers.

Some of the older male engineers think it is a quota that has to be filled.

I hope they are proved wrong.  The positions are difficult enough as it is, but having to work with others who think the job was given due to meet a quota, and not based on merit, makes it so much more difficult.

______________________________________________________________________________
This is normally the space where people post something insightful.

GregLocock (Automotive)
15 Nov 11 16:31
The cynic in me suggests that the average recruitment process is so poorly done (for a variety of reasons) that selecting candidates based on gender, or hair color, for that matter, probably won't make it any worse.

Cheers

Greg Locock


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lacajun (Electrical)
10 Apr 12 12:42
controlnovice, I know a civil engineer, female, running her own company.  She's endured biases but ultimately even women have to be able to perform the work to stay in business.  When men understand this, the less heartache everyone will have.

I've talked with a number of people in the last several months about my experiences with men in engineering.  Invariably people are surprised and I've not mentioned the most difficult things I've endured.  I've mentioned the least difficult experiences.  I decided to blog about some of my experiences.  I'm sure it will be an unpopular move but it won't be the first and it won't be the last either.  We are imperfect people in an imperfect world.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC

SLTA (Structural)
10 Apr 12 14:07
Lacajun, would you share your blog address? I'd love to read it.
lacajun (Electrical)
10 Apr 12 14:55
http://www.pamelaquillin.com/blog.html

I'm not the best writer in many ways.  I'm more interested in getting the experiences out in case it helps young women in some small way.  One of my Christian friends, who is an engineer and female, encouraged me to help young women know they're not alone and the behaviors are as old as time.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC

KENAT (Mechanical)
10 Apr 12 15:43
lacajun, I don't know if that guy's behavior was typical of the men you've encountered in the profession but fundamentally it sounds like the guy was an all round feminine sanitary product and the bag it came in.

I'm given to understand from my wife's experiences you find those all kinds of places, including some that are heavily female dominated.

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lacajun (Electrical)
10 Apr 12 16:17
KENAT, the stories only get better or worse depending on your perspective.  That is the point of this thread, IMHO.  Men's behaviors are leaving a lot to be desired, when it comes to women in engineering.  That was the driving factor for me to contemplate leaving the profession.  I believe it is a motivator for many to leave the profession.

I know women can be just as bad, from what I've heard.  I don't have a lot of experience with women, since engineers from the feminine gender of the species are rare.  The female engineers I have worked with were very good people and I had no issues with them.  They helped rather than hindered.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC

KENAT (Mechanical)
10 Apr 12 17:12
Sorry, my point was that my wife has encountered similar a$$holes (I was thinking men but actually a good few women too as you raise the issue) in fields where there are lots of women (healthcare, social work, insurance...).

Are the people you have unfortunately encountered a$$hole engineers, or a$$holes that happen to be engineers?  Is there really a higher ratio of these folks in engineering than in many other sectors (especially if adjusted for gender)?

Again we're running the risk of trying to use anecdotes as data.  

However, some of the surveys previously posted seemed to show that for the most part the women leaving engineering were doing so for reasons not directly related to gender.

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lacajun (Electrical)
11 Apr 12 14:14
KENAT, you ask a question I've pondered.

I've worked with men who are absolute gems.  But there are some who work triple time to give men a bad rap.  Those many women consistently run into.  My female friends in the high tech sector have not run into the harsh discrimination women experience in older industries.  Smart, female engineers in the high tech sector are a given.

I had an opportunity to share some of my experiences with a female physician last year.  She is probably about 15 years older than me, which would put her about 67.  She thought she had experienced some rough treatment from male physicians but nothing compared to what I experienced.  She thought my experiences were terrible!  I told her my least negative stories, which made me start thinking about male engineers differently.

There weren't many women doctors, when she began her career and it was an adjustment for the men to work with women.  She doesn't experience much these days.  I cannot say the same.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC

beej67 (Civil/Environmental)
21 Apr 12 15:55

Quote (KENAT):

OK, I'll bite even though last time it offended a few people.

Why should we encourage more women, or any other identifiable group, into engineering essentially at the expense of other 'over represented' groups?

We need to encourage women in particular because of this:

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KENAT (Mechanical)
23 Apr 12 15:49
? Explain that jump in logic to me Beej67

Why does the fact a slightly larger % of current US students are female automatically mean that we need to encourage more females into engineering?

Plus, it appears the trend may be flattening out.

If there are enough male engineering students to keep the ranks swollen, then a shortage of them isn't good logic for encouraging women instead is it?

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beej67 (Civil/Environmental)
23 Apr 12 17:06
The trends look linear to me.  And in a non-flat way.

 

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patprimmer (Publican)
23 Apr 12 19:09
Maybe that simply means that the education system has swung toward favouring women now.

There are several reasons why despite the high number of women college graduates, women are still under represented in engineering.

One very valid reason might be that not that many women find engineering attractive.

Another might be that women are now out-competing men for spots in higher paid professions like medicine & law leaving less women and more men for engineering.

Another might be that to many existing engineers still discriminate against women and drive them away, or at least many women have that perception.

I still think there are characteristics built into our DNA that carry over from ancient times that are dependent on evolutionary advantages at those times. Like men tend to be taller and more muscular, hairier and louder and more aggressive and gather in large groups and also tend to be colour blind but have good night vision while women tend to be shorter, petite, smooth soft and more rounded, have less hair, gather in small groups and are quieter and display less aggression and have better colour vision but poorer night vision.

As a part of this men seem more inclined toward maths and physics while women seem more inclined toward language and arts.

If this is hard wired into DNA, there is precious little we can really do about it other than to rejoice and accept when a woman does choose to enter engineering, especially if she is one of the few who has a real aptitude for it

Regards
Pat
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KENAT (Mechanical)
23 Apr 12 19:24
Actually Pat, according to some article my Mrs was reading supposedly in some tests women do better than men on math etc.

Not sure of all the conditions, but I was a little surprised as I'd also read about boys slightly outperforming in those areas on average.

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patprimmer (Publican)
23 Apr 12 21:40
Certainly I think girls on average are more mature sooner than boys and more inclined to be studious rather than frivolous and adventurous, that is on average.  

Regards
Pat
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ilovechickens (Mechanical)
24 Apr 12 7:45
Being of the non-male gender, and having worked in the engineering field in the UK for almost 20 years, during which time I also had children (which did result in me taking 3 months unpaid maternity leave each time - sorry could not help it as hubby refused to take the time off -although he did take the morning off the day the first baby was born and being very considerate I pushed baby out in 2 hours, meaning after hubby left work in the morning to take me to hospital, he was back in the office in the afternoon) I do find the comments about woman having to take 3 months off for maternity leave being a problem for companies a little ironic.

My main gripe on this issue is that and I am sure this is not limited to the engineering field) I am almost made to feel like I am a silly b***h for getting pregnant and wanting 3 months off whereas when my collegues (male or female) ask for 3 months extended leave to travel they are wished on voyage - have fun, we'll see you when you get back.....

Other than that though I will say I have never really had any problems with me being a female engineer (and I am in a male dominated area - only female engineer in company). Perhaps this is because I can swear as well as the next guy and often do. I have found most of the people I work with to be gentlemen (even if some are gentleman of dubious character). If I did have problems being a woman earlier in my career it tended to came from other female engineers who seemed to like their special status of being a woman in a mans world and did not want it threatened. Again as time has moved forward there has been less of this going on.

When I do leave engineering it will have nothing to do with being a woman but will be because I am sick of being undervalued, underpaid and underappreciated (like all engineers feel sometimes - male or female) . However at the moment I love my job dispite all the crap that can go with it and so put up with all the rubbish because I still look forward to going into the office in the morning.

I often wonder if woman leave engineering because they may have more financial freedom to do so. I am sure a higher percentage of female engineers are married with working spouses than the other way around (i.e. male engineers with working spouses) and so it is not such a drain on a household income for one of the couple to change careers when there are two people earning in the household. Also many men I work with feel the responsability (real or imaginary) of being the main breadwinner and much provide for their family and hence would put up with much more crap than some of us females would.  

 
Helpful Member!  SLTA (Structural)
24 Apr 12 9:35
Pat, there are a ton of studies showing girls are even or slightly better with boys at math when they're young, but it starts getting beaten out of them by middle school. Trust me, it takes a LOT of self-confidence to stick with being smart as a middle school girl, because it's totally uncool. So when I hear that most females aren't hard-wired for math, I get a little testy.

What turbokiwi said is right.  My first pregnancy, I refused to go stand on scaffolding in another town in 95+ degree weather for all summer, and it was made very clear that I wasn't being a team player.  Hello, I was growing another human being!  And my (also unpaid) maternity leave was approved, only to be told at the end that I was a week over and had to pay my company.  Good times, good times.

Now I'm all crabby. Grrr.
KENAT (Mechanical)
24 Apr 12 10:27
slta - being a smart boy wasn't exactly a route to the top of the popularity charts either.  Ah, the childhood chants of 'know it all Ken' - though of course by the standards of this site I barely knew anything.

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patprimmer (Publican)
24 Apr 12 10:48
Linnea

That's not how it worked out with my kids, in fact exactly the opposite.

My daughter was always excellent at maths and highly competitive about it. It was my son who scummed to peer group pressure in junior high to reduce his performance to match the mediocrity of his peer group, but exceptions do not make a rule.

My real point is even if given exactly even opportunity, it does not necessarily follow that the the distribution would be even due to personal choice and comfort zones.  

Regards
Pat
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beej67 (Civil/Environmental)
24 Apr 12 21:04

Quote:

Maybe that simply means that the education system has swung toward favouring women now.

Supposedly a huge contributing factor is how the "competition" has been sucked out of school.  Women operate much better in noncompetitive environments, men better in competitive environments, and the women (who are in charge of the education system) have rewritten the rules for grade school to make sure there's no more element of competition.  Which makes it harder for men to engage the material.  They get bored, would rather play sports and video games, etc.

Multiple articles on it, Google around for yourself.
 

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patprimmer (Publican)
24 Apr 12 21:19
opps

Caught out by a spell checker.

My son succumbed not scummed  

Regards
Pat
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Helpful Member!  ScottyUK (Electrical)
25 Apr 12 1:45
beej67's observation certainly holds true in the UK where the education system has been manipulated to remove competition and to eliminate any concept of 'pass' or 'fail', or at least to eliminate the 'fail' aspect. The end product of the system, regardless of gender, is full of a sense of entitlement and of the expectation of a well-paid job, yet the same people know less and less every year. Recruitment is becoming a thoroughly depressing experience.

My wife is a teacher and she tries very hard to do her job well, but the problems with education seem to originate up at the top of the system where the policies are set, not among the front-line staff trying to teach in the ever-growing tangle of bureaucracy and socialist B.S.
  

----------------------------------
  
If we learn from our mistakes I'm getting a great education!
 

patprimmer (Publican)
25 Apr 12 2:08
The Teachers Federation here was hijacked by radical feminists quite some time ago with the impact of changing curriculum and school systems to avoid competition, loosers, diminished self esteem by students, minimise accountability, and intoduce an unfathomable method of reporting performance etc etc.

It was really to avoid scrutiny of individual teacher performance.

Luckily for my daughter, they still retained a fair dinkum selective school network, whereby if you consistently performed in the top 10%ile you qualified for the elite, selective school. There the discipline was strict, competition strong and if you did not like it you could always choose the main stream school across the road.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_George_Girls_High_School

My High School English suffered by having to read novels like Wuthering Heights. I never did manage to read it. Neither did most of the other boys in the class. I have heard there was a resurgence in boys performance in English when Harry Potter made the reading curriculum as most actually read it.



Regards
Pat
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MiketheEngineer (Structural)
25 Apr 12 14:41
Dated the only good looking one in college - 1976.  Almost got married.  She was a very good engineer...
ScottyUK (Electrical)
25 Apr 12 15:32
Pat,

For me it was "A Tale of Two Cities" which I never read to completion. I was somewhat surprised when I got a grade D for English Lit, because I'd written a lengthy treatise on the ending of the book even though I've never read it. I assume I got no marks at all for that, so I guess I did ok on the Shakespeare part of the exam - at least I had read the set text. A 'D' was far higher than I expected (or deserved) but the subject was utterly irrelevant to anything I wanted to study.
  

----------------------------------
  
If we learn from our mistakes I'm getting a great education!
 

btrueblood (Mechanical)
25 Apr 12 19:41
"I often wonder if woman leave engineering because they may have more financial freedom to do so. I am sure a higher percentage of female engineers are married with working spouses than the other way around (i.e. male engineers with working spouses) and so it is not such a drain on a household income for one of the couple to change careers when there are two people earning in the household."

My admittedly anecdotal experience, having married an engineer and getting to know quite a few more through her, has me agreeing with that, Turbokiwi.

"Also many men I work with feel the responsability (real or imaginary) of being the main breadwinner and much provide for their family and hence would put up with much more crap than some of us females would."

Mmmm...maybe so.  I know a few (ok several, but not a majority) of male engineers that are complete bounders, and have committed serial monogamy.  But, in general, I think people who study engineering, both sexes, are more practically-minded than other people.  The old saw about the engineer who put the little black book into a spreadsheet and did a cost-benefit analysis to choose his(her?) best mate is probably closer to the truth than we engineers would like to admit.  Maybe we are willing not to put up with more crap, but to work a little more when dating to find less crap-filled spouses?
btrueblood (Mechanical)
25 Apr 12 19:43
Blag.  NEver mind that last paragraph, I misread what you were talking about Turbokiwi.  It's late afternoon after two weeks of 12 hour days, and I'm started to get seriously brain-fogged.  Logging off now before I completely step on my own...you know.
lacajun (Electrical)
26 Apr 12 17:12
I've heard some men, fathers and not fathers, managers and not managers complain about maternity leave and its "negative" impact on business, morale, fairness, etc.  It seems procreation is not high on some people's list of priorities and they don't understand what's involved with it.  Makes me wonder about the quality of their home life.

I've met men who left engineering or the corporate climate because they got fed up with the minutiae.  They understood they had other opportunities in life and didn't mind taking the risk.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC

beej67 (Civil/Environmental)
29 Apr 12 9:30
I think that goes back to poorly written public policy.  Unless I'm mistaken, when someone in the national guard  gets called overseas, the government pays their way and the corporation is only required to hold their spot for them when they get back.  If the government wants to value maternity leave in the same way (which IMO it should) then the government should pick up the tab for the leave time, and merely require the company to hold the spot.  Laws that force the company to pay for the leave are the problem, because then hiring women becomes a liability over hiring men.

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patprimmer (Publican)
29 Apr 12 18:52
beej has a point. While the creating of children is a necessary and valuable thing to the community, it should not be the financial responsibility of employers as that will surely lead to employers being tempted to not risk that financial burden. It is very normal for people to see certain things as good, but they still don't want to be the ones paying dearly for it.

Government funded leave time and employers responsibility limited to holding the spot open seems fair as the broader community who gets the advantage, then shares the costs. Even that is a cost to the individual employeer, but probably not so high as to temp employers to discriminate against fertile women so as to avoid that risk.

The only way to eliminate or at least offset that last cost would be for governments to compensate employers for employing fertile women or subsidising them for the costs of holding a job open.   Hmmmm that is getting a bit extreme left, even for me.

Regards
Pat
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LSpark (Electrical)
1 May 12 7:14
I can see why American employers are less tolerant of maternity leave - in the UK at least part of maternity pay is covered by the government and the employer is required to hold the post open.  The employer can chose to offer additional enhanced materity pay, this tends to be larger companies that can afford to do this, but this usually ties the woman into returning to work for a defined length of time.
MiketheEngineer (Structural)
3 May 12 16:11
Not saying it is a bad idea - but having the government pay makes me wonder - WHO PAYS THE GOVT??  YOU AND I DO!!

Had kind of distant relative give birth at about 17 years old to twins - both have medical problems - she has no husband, job, insurance, etc. AND SHE IS PROUD OF HER GOVT subsistence!!!  Who is paying - look in the mirror.
patprimmer (Publican)
3 May 12 17:42
That is quite a different case to paid maternity leave with an intention and desire to return to work and is frankly a bull$h!!t red herring to the argument.

Government paid maternity spreads the load of the cost of paid maternity leave fairly across the community. It is the community at large who benefits from capable responsible people propagating.

 

Regards
Pat
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MiketheEngineer (Structural)
7 May 12 11:55
IF SHE HAD A JOB - I would not be so intolerant - because she would have "paid" in to begin with.  BUT SHE has no job and maybe the best she can do - is flipping burgers.  No education and probably never will!!
SLTA (Structural)
7 May 12 15:48
*gets on soapbox*

ok, Mike?  "If she had a job"?  Clearly you don't have any children, so you have no idea how HARD it is to take care of one kid, let alone two, and again let alone with medical problems, and ESPECIALLY on your own.

Who exactly would you want to take care of her kids while she got this job?  And how exactly would she pay for it?  We looked at our finances, and I was basically working to pay daycare on an engineer's salary.  Maybe she's just doing the best she can.  Whichever it is, I'm sure your attitude doesn't inspire her to better herself or her kids' situation.

*exits soapbox*
dwallace1971 (Aerospace)
7 May 12 16:38
Perhaps she should not have had children she couldn't afford to raise.  Had she not had a "safety net" to fall into she might have made more responsible reproductive decisions.

"On the human scale, the laws of Newtonian Physics are non-negotiable"

rconnor (Mechanical)
8 May 12 9:30
Wow...just wow...

Dwallace and Mike, I think you guys listen to too much Rush Limbaugh.

So people make a mistake when they are 17 (and I love how you but all the blame on the women) and you believe they should be destined to a life of poverty? Also, you seem to not care that the children will grow up in terrible conditions if no financial support is provided. This will, in turn, lead to a higher probability that the children will turn to drugs/crime later in life which your tax dollars will to pay (jail/outreach/rehab)...probably 4x the cost of any child support the government would offer in the first place.


Also, I sure as heck hope both Mike and Dwallace were on Wall Street protesting the bank bail outs or at the White House protesting the war in Iraq if you are so protective of your tax dollars. I certainly hope that you'd prioritize the health and safety of a mother and her children over bank CEO's and Bush's world policing.
lacajun (Electrical)
8 May 12 15:00
Life is too dynamic for mere man to control everything.

My mother didn't marry until she was 28 years old.  My dad was the biggest mistake of her life.  He was a real smooth talker hiding a beast underneath the good lookin' facade.  She ended up with three kids she couldn't support.  We all worked and from a young age.  My dad was a no account to his dying day.

Mother's family helped us and we all worked.  We did without.  We never took government assistance because we all worked.  It helped me learn team work and I have Mother and my aunts and uncles to thank for that.  I have them to thank for my work ethic, too.  Aunt Loucille didn't spare her hand on my butt, when I needed it.

It always takes a man and a woman to procreate.  Ensure your attitudes are not like the scribes and Pharisees in John 8:1-11.  I wonder if Jesus wrote the names of her suitors in the dirt to pierce their consciences.  There is nothing new under the sun.  

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC

patprimmer (Publican)
8 May 12 18:33
Pamela.

I entirely agree with the basis of your post, but not everyone has the family support and to quote an old John Wayne movie, the true grit to successfully follow that path. Some do need assistance.

I for one am prepared to offer some support to my fellow man.

Regards
Pat
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graybeach (Structural)
9 May 12 9:01
Nicely put Pat.  I feel the same way, and for engineering type reasons in addition to compassionate ones.  It's like when you get start getting cracks in a bridge deck.  The most economical thing to do is to put some money into repairing them while they are young rather than wait for them to corrode and fester and take the whole bridge down.
dwallace1971 (Aerospace)
9 May 12 12:03
rconner,
By your logic, government housing projects wouldn't be the dens of drug use and crime that they are.  Folks in those areas recieve the financial support that you say will prevent poverty, crime, drug use, and bad breath.   

I think that if people are forced to live with the consequences of their actions, regardless of the age at which those actions were taken, they will be less likely to repeat negative actions.  Conversely, if they are insulated from those consequences, they are more likely to continue the activity that got them into trouble in the first place.  Additionally, the tendency for irresponsible behavior is passed on to the next generation, creating a cycle of poverty.  
   

 

"On the human scale, the laws of Newtonian Physics are non-negotiable"

FeX32 (Mechanical)
9 May 12 16:02

Quote:


I for one am prepared to offer some support to my fellow man.

I agree as well.
There is one exception though. I personally get pissed when I see immigrants come to my country and take advantage of this (if you know what I mean).

peace
Fe (IronX32)

Helpful Member!  lacajun (Electrical)
9 May 12 16:48
Pat, charity is a good thing and we should all engage in it.  However, I believe a more personal touch in its application is warranted because we are all different.  Sometimes a helping hand helps and sometimes it enables.  One reason I failed the personality profile recently is because a "yes" answer to some of the questions would have identified me as an enabler.  I have no desire to do for someone something they can and should do for themselves.  I have enough experience in that area from family members to colleagues and beaus.  Some people I will help because I know it will help.  Others not because they're looking for an easy way out and any help will only enable them.  That does no one any good.  That's just my thinking on the matter.

I agree with dwallace1971, too.  I've seen first hand my dad's parents rescue him from all sorts of problems he created and he never learned his lessons, consequently.  My dad is not the only one I've watched in this situation either.  The results are always the same, lessons are not learned.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC

dwallace1971 (Aerospace)
9 May 12 17:06
And we must be careful not to confuse charity with government largesse.  Charity is when you take a dollar from your pocket to give to someone you deem needy.  Government largesse is when you take a dolloar from someone else's pocket to give to someone you deem needy.  The first example is the very essence of generosity. The second bears a striking resemblence to theft.

  

"On the human scale, the laws of Newtonian Physics are non-negotiable"

lacajun (Electrical)
9 May 12 17:14
Agreed, dwallace1971.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC

KENAT (Mechanical)
9 May 12 22:08
Remind me, how does abuse or otherwise of the welfare system pertain to the number of women in Engineering.

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patprimmer (Publican)
9 May 12 22:19
Well if the vast majority women did not act in such a foolish irresponsible and lazy manner and end up on welfare with 8 kids by 22 years of age, they would be available to study and become engineers. They could then be sterilised so the education would not be wasted on useless activities like child bearing.

-;)

Regards
Pat
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SLTA (Structural)
10 May 12 9:29
* throws drink at Pat * oh wait....
patprimmer (Publican)
10 May 12 9:36
I thought that might stir you up a bit. Lets see if I can get the smiley right this time.  winky smile

Regards
Pat
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looslib (Mechanical)
10 May 12 10:46

My wife worked in a doctor's office as a receptionist. One of the nurses was a 21 year old with a 4 year old child. She became pregnant again, still unwed, becasue the state aid stopped when the first child became 5. By having a second, she got another 5 years of support and a higher support amount, because there were now 3 in the 'family'.

Some people learn the system rules and how to take advantage of them.

"Wildfires are dangerous, hard to control, and economically catastrophic."

Ben Loosli

lacajun (Electrical)
10 May 12 11:29

A cousin retired from Social Security and a childhood friend of mine replaced her. The job entails going after dead-beat dads, which are in abundance. The stories they've told make your hair curl, which explains my hair. They do, indeed, find ways to corrupt the system and use their children to do it. Some wealthy people do the same thing.

I tend to think if men weren't so pushy about their "needs" women would do a better job of not pro-creating. winky smile

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC

patprimmer (Publican)
10 May 12 12:02

I do not mean to imply it is all the ladies fault. It takes two to procreate and all to many men shirk their responsibility and often couples pretend the mum is single to exploit the system. Often the mum is genuinely deserted and left literally holding the baby. Sometimes women contrive to get pregnant specifically to exploit the system.

Regards
Pat
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lacajun (Electrical)
10 May 12 12:04

Pat, I don't refer to date rape. Some men will badger women for a date until they are worn out and give in even though they are not interested. If the woman doesn't want another date, the man continues to pursue until she gives in again. Sometimes it's ended in matrimony. That's happened to more than one woman I know. I'm thinking of my step-mother right now and a few others.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC

patprimmer (Publican)
10 May 12 12:21

Pamela

I find that very difficult to imagine although I am sure it is true.

I certainly can't see it happening to anyone in my family as all the girls are quite strong minded, but our family strongly supports women standing up for themselves. I don't see it being much of a possibility with most of our friends either, but I guess you gravitate toward people of similar values. Most of our girls are considered tomboys and are very confident about themselves. I guess a few here are as well

I don't think that significantly decreases the chance of them becoming single mums, but I do think it decreases the chance of it happening without their full and willing consent

Regards
Pat
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MiketheEngineer (Structural)
10 May 12 12:43

This thread went down hill pretty quick or at least off-track and I despise Rush L!!!!!!

I have worked since I was 14 and made my way the whole time!!

beej67 (Civil/Environmental)
10 May 12 13:01

Quote (miketheengineer)

Not saying it is a bad idea - but having the government pay makes me wonder - WHO PAYS THE GOVT?? YOU AND I DO!!

Sure. And if (you and I) decide that (you and I) value paid maternity leave enough to grant it for all women, then (you and I) should pay for it with (your and my) taxes, not force someone else (the employer) to pay for it. That's how responsible government works. It pays for what it decides it wants, instead of drawing up fanciful unfunded mandates that it then requires other people to pay.

Hydrology, Drainage Analysis, Flood Studies, and Complex Stormwater Litigation for Atlanta and the South East - http://www.campbellcivil.com

dwallace1971 (Aerospace)
10 May 12 14:54

beej67 if you and Mike decide that you value paid maternity leave enough to grant it to all women, you and Mike should pay for it out of your own pocket and not force someone else (the taxpayers) to pay for it. That's how responsible citizenship works.

"On the human scale, the laws of Newtonian Physics are non-negotiable"

beej67 (Civil/Environmental)
10 May 12 16:11

No, it's really not. I value not having my city burn down, but that does not mean I pay firemen directly. Nor does it mean that I can get my fire protection for free by forcing a company to pay for it. I value roads without potholes, but that does not mean that I must fill each pothole myself.

Sharing the cost of things a society values is the primary function of government. If we do not want to pay the taxes necessary to pay for maternity leave, then we should simply vote to get rid of paid maternity leave entirely.

I find this particularly funny coming from an aerospace engineer. If you value F-22 fighter jets, you should just go out and buy one yourself, eh? Fly it around and defend our borders from the impending Chinese invasion like a "responsible citizen," eh?

Hydrology, Drainage Analysis, Flood Studies, and Complex Stormwater Litigation for Atlanta and the South East - http://www.campbellcivil.com

dwallace1971 (Aerospace)
11 May 12 12:36
You're comparing apples to oranges. Fire protection, roads, defense, etc. are goods and services the government purchases for the use of it's citizens. Maternity leave pay, welfare, subsidies, etc. are direct transfers of wealth from one citizen to another.

"On the human scale, the laws of Newtonian Physics are non-negotiable"

MiketheEngineer (Structural)
11 May 12 13:32
dwallace -

BINGO!!!
SnTMan (Mechanical)
11 May 12 13:37
Yow, I believe I must have wandered into the Pub by mistake:)

(Boy is this new font hard to read)
beej67 (Civil/Environmental)
11 May 12 15:31
Its not apples and oranges, its government and government. The graduated tax system, the capital gains tax break, the immunity of churches from taxation, unemployment benefits, medicare, and social security are all wealth transfer programs.

If you oppose the transfer of money from once citizen to another via paid maternity leave, why do you advocate the transfer of money from an employer to an employee for paid maternity leave?

If its not worth doing, then get rid of it. If it is worth doing, then pay for it. The middle ground, where we say it's worth doing and then force someone else to pay for it, is the most unjust way to transfer money from one to another.

Hydrology, Drainage Analysis, Flood Studies, and Complex Stormwater Litigation for Atlanta and the South East - http://www.campbellcivil.com

dwallace1971 (Aerospace)
11 May 12 15:51
beej67,
Saying apples and oranges are both fruit and are, therefore, the same thing is an exercise in intentional imprecision. I agree that all the programs you listed are probably wealth transfer programs, and most certainly are. However, earlier you tried to lump goods and services that government purchases on our behalf into the same category as wealth transfer programs and to justify the one by the assumed legitimacy of the other. This is a classic example of a logical fallacy, the name of which escapes me at the moment.

I don't recall where I advocated anyone paying for maternity leave, though Mike may have. However, if an employer decides that she wants to offer maternity leave as a benefit, then, I don't have a problem with it. In that scenario, no one is forcibly taking money from another.

"where we say it's worth doing and then force someone else to pay for it, is the most unjust way to transfer money from one to another."
Is this not exactly what you're advocating when you decide women should have paid maternity leave, then force, through the government, the taxpayer to pay for it?

"On the human scale, the laws of Newtonian Physics are non-negotiable"

beej67 (Civil/Environmental)
13 May 12 15:07
Fire protection is a wealth transfer from people who's houses aren't burning down to people who's houses are burning down.

We decide we would like to have firemen, so we pay taxes and give those taxes to the firemen, to provide a service to people who's houses are burning down. We don't force someone else to pay for the firemen.

That's what's wrong with maternity leave laws in the US. Either pay for it with taxes or get rid of it. If an employer wants to offer it, fine, but don't force them to provide it out of their own pocket, because doing so creates a disincentive to hire women.

I don't see what's so hard to understand about this, and I get the feeling you're trying to interject a different agenda to the discussion.

Hydrology, Drainage Analysis, Flood Studies, and Complex Stormwater Litigation for Atlanta and the South East - http://www.campbellcivil.com

jmw (Industrial) (OP)
14 May 12 5:36
Governments love to legislate but businesses are an easy target for voter appeal legislation they don't have to fund.
If the government had to pay for all these public holidays and maternity leave etc. they would find themselves faced with some civil rights wet liberal politicians demanding they pay them even if the recipient is unemployed.

Not sure that fire brigades are a fair comparison.

When the first fire brigades were created they were private companies, often in competition within the same area. Each house chose whether or not to subscribe to a fire brigade and had a badge to hang on the outside of the building.
IF a house caught fire and a fire brigade turned up they would do nothing unless it had the correct badge shown.
No badge, no fire brigade.
Of course, once the fire spread to a neighbouring property with a suitable badge they would go to work.
Chances are it would first spread to a property with no badge.
Understandable that as private companies they would only protect paid up members but hardly a good state of affairs so the transition to a unified fire service was a natural progression.
London had its share of fires, some of which did great damage - (or good if you think rebuilding London was good idea) and it was felt it was no longer safe to leave fire protection up to the private companies.
Not sure that this compares with Maternity Leave .... except perhaps we should all get it around the appropriate age whether we have kids or not? Or some replacement perk?
When you start worrying about what is fair and what is not, you end up in trouble. A lot of laws are discriminatory.
We now have the EU deciding that it is discriminatory to base insurance payments and pension funds on life expectancy and hence, because they live longer, to pay a lower pension to women for the same fund. What that says about other insurance issues is another matter. Does this mean that 16 year old boys with jet propelled cars should pay the same premiums as 70 year old ladies?

PS When the British Fire Service had its staff training College at Wotton House (Evelyn's home or was it Pepys?) they had a nice collection of these badges on display.


Sadly, as punishment for going on strike, the government relocated the college down to some manic depressive modern building on Moreton in the Marsh airfield and Wotton House is now some sort of hotel.

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com

beej67 (Civil/Environmental)
14 May 12 8:51
At least with the private fire brigades, the costs were being paid by those receiving the benefits. Imagine if government offered free fire protection, but paid for it by taxing any company who hired Asians. Suddenly companies would have a disincentive to hire Asians, though no fault of their own. That's what the US system of forcing companies to pay for maternity leave does.

Now, having gone through this recently with our first child, there are private maternity leave options you can work off of. For instance, disability insurance applies to a certain limit on maternity leave, so if you're planning a kid well in advance, you can adjust your disability insurance to help some. But that doesn't eliminate the fundamental drawback to hiring women, that you're going to be on the hook for paid time off more than hiring a man.

Government realized this problem with our national guardsmen. They don't require employers to give paid time to deployed NG members. Rather, the government pays them during their time off, and merely requires the company to hold their position until they get back. The reasoning is that the National Guard are providing an essential service to our country and society.

If we decide that child bearing is an essential service to our country and society, then I see no reason not to treat it the same way as the National Guard. If we decide that we as a country and society don't really give a rat's rear about future generations, then we should get rid of any sort of government laws regarding maternity leave and put everyone on their own. I prefer the former to the latter, but the current system is the worst of the three, because it puts women at a disadvantage in the workplace.

Hydrology, Drainage Analysis, Flood Studies, and Complex Stormwater Litigation for Atlanta and the South East - http://www.campbellcivil.com

rconnor (Mechanical)
14 May 12 11:43
"If we decide that child bearing is an essential service to our country and society, then I see no reason not to treat it the same way as the National Guard."

This is a very good point. The proper support of a child by the parents during infancy is an important factor in how the child will develop essential social skills like compassion and understanding. Absent or abusive parenting are strongly linked to future behavioural issues (including criminal activity) with childern. This makes it an essential service in my eyes.

Although not all parents are good parents, these "safety net" programs are important to give parents a better opportunity to be better parents (whether it's financial support or free education on parenting). Are they 100% effective, of course not. But does that mean that they are not worth while?

Furthermore, absent or abusive parenting is a cyclical problem. Childern that grew up in that environment do not develop a sense of responsibility and hence are more likely to have childern that they cannot support. Many of you wrongly superimpose your mindset onto people in this situation and think they should understand that if they cannot support a child, they shouldn't have one - many of them are not as forward thinking as that (men and women). They are also more likely to be absent or abusive parents to their childern. So it's not good enough to say, people will learn from their mistake because (1) they likely won't due to a lack of development in basic social/life skills because of poor parenting/lack of education and (2) we already will be paying for it as the cycle continues.

For the argument that people take advantage of these programs, a better place for you to focus your attention of people "milking the system" is how big corporations go to great lengths to save MILLIONS off their taxes.

And for the argument that these social safety net programs are such a huge draw out of your pocket, let's look at where (US) tax dollars go...
- 25% Defense
- 24% Health Care
- 19% Job and Family Security
- 0.7% goes to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
- 0.6% goes to supplemental food programs for woman, infants and children
- 0.6% goes to child care, foster care, adoption support
- 14% Interest on National Dept
- rest in education, vetern benefits, science, etc...
So, not sure why you feel that these programs (that are fractions of a penny on the tax dollar) are a burden on you.


People are born into bad environments. They miss out on having caring parents and having the importance of education and financial responsibility taught to them. Certainly there are some that find these things out on their own and bring themselfs out of the cycle but the vast majority don't. It's more difficult than any of us (that had a much better upbringing) can understand. You can't look down on these people and think they are lazy and useless because then the cycle never truely ends.

Yes, you also can't give hand outs that don't solve the core issue. But programs like the ones we talk about provided parents with a greater chance to be good parents and give their children the morals and sense of responsibility that we had passed down to us. These programs are not 100% effective but they are very important.
jmw (Industrial) (OP)
14 May 12 14:31
The results of the analysis of the recent riots in the UK show a sizeable majority of the offenders were already on the way to being career criminals and a surprising number were from single parent families.
Make of that what you will but it has certainly been the case that some girls have elected having a child and being a single parent as their path to a secure future.

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com

jmw (Industrial) (OP)
14 May 12 14:31
PS:Beej67, I take your point. Thanks for the clarification.

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com

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