Women are underrepresented in technology. According to Zippia, there are over 192,270 engineers in the United States, but only 13.7% of all engineers are women. Furthermore, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that women make up half of the U.S. workforce, but only 27% of STEM workers in 2019 were women. In contrast, men make up 52% of all U.S. workers, but 73% of all STEM workers.
Scholarships, career resources, organizations, and employer understanding of the issues women face are essential for women engineers to succeed. Fortunately, many organizations are conducting research, participating in advocacy, and promoting networking opportunities.
- 1 Top Organizations for Women Engineers
- 2 Women in Engineering Scholarships
- 2.1 Sikora Drake STEM Scholarship
- 2.2 BHW Scholarship
- 2.3 Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Scholarship Program
- 2.4 American Association of University Women (AAUW)
- 2.5 Women in Engineering and Computer and Information Science Awards
- 2.6 ASME Scholarships
- 2.7 Women in Engineering Programs and Advocates Network (WEPAN)
- 2.8 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
- 2.9 Admiral Grace Murray Hopper Scholarship
- 2.10 Women in Technology Scholarship
- 3 Competitions for Women Engineers
- 4 Career Resources for Women Engineers
- 5 Tips for Executives Looking to Hire More Women Engineers
- 6 How to Keep Women in Engineering
- 7 Sources
Top Organizations for Women Engineers
Organizations help women engineers network, find financial help, and empower women to pursue careers in engineering fields. Organizations for women engineers include:
Graduate Women in Science (GWIS)
The Graduate Women in Science (GWIS) has empowered women in science and engineering since 1921. The organization has global chapters and over 1,000 members. The GWIS helps with endowments for chapters, administers fellowships, and provides networking opportunities and professional development for its members. Its mission is to build a global community to support, inspire, recognize, and empower women in science. They accomplish this mission by leading, connecting, and empowering their members.
Since 1950, the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) has given women engineers a voice within the engineering industry. The objectives of the SWE are professional excellence to help women engineers with an inclusive and diverse membership. Advocacy is for the inclusion and success of present and prospective women in engineering and technology. With over 300 collegiate member sections and 100 professional member sections, the SWE has over 40,000 individual professional members.
The IEEE Women in Engineering (WIE) is a network of IEEE members and volunteers dedicated to promoting women engineers and scientists. They inspire women and girls internationally as the world’s largest professional organization for advancing technology. The organization’s main goal is to help recruit and retain women in technical disciplines. They work towards gender-diversified representation at IEEE meetings, events, and conferences.
Women in Engineering Pro-Active Network (WEPAN)
The Women in Engineering Pro-Active Network (WEPAN) is a non-profit educational organization founded in 1990. The WEPAN is the leading champion in North America for research and best practices for women in engineering and aims to create diversity, equity, leadership, and inclusion. The WEPAN connects people, research, and practice to increase participation.
Great Minds in STEM
Great Minds in Stem (GmiS) exists to inspire and motivate underserved students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. They aim to enlighten and engage educators, families, communities, and employers to help underserved students pursue STEM careers.
Women in Engineering Scholarships
Scholarships help women earn engineering degrees by assisting them with financial expenses. By paying all or part of tuition and other educational costs, they help level the playing field for women in engineering. Where few women work in engineering, scholarships make the difference between access to engineering fields and being shut out.
Sikora Drake STEM Scholarship
The Sikora Drake STEM Scholarship is for women, racial minorities, LGBTQ+ individuals, and first-generation students pursuing STEM education. Any first-generation, BIPOC, female-identifying, and/or LGBTQ+ student pursuing a degree in STEM can apply for the Sikora Drake STEM scholarship. To apply, the scholarship candidates must state why they are pursuing the degree and why diversity in the workplace is important.
Women pursuing an undergraduate or master’s degree and majoring in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics are eligible for this scholarship.
Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Scholarship Program
The SWE Scholarship Program provides funds for women enrolled in an ABET/CSAB-accredited baccalaureate or graduate program. Scholarship candidates must be pursuing a career in engineering, engineering technology, or computer science. The SWE scholarship awards grants in late summer and early fall for the following academic year.
American Association of University Women (AAUW)
The American Association of University Women (AAUW) offers scholarships to women in fields currently underrepresented by women, including computer science, math, scientific study, and engineering. Eligibility requires the woman to be at least 18 years of age and accepted into an accredited university or technical program. She must show proof of above-average previous academic standing and have a minimum of three letters of recommendation.
Women in Engineering and Computer and Information Science Awards
These awards provide funds for female college students. To be eligible, the applicant must have a GPA of at least 3.0 for the past academic year, be a United States citizen, and show strong leadership qualities.
The American Scholarships for Mechanical Engineering (ASME) has funding for female engineering students through several organizations. They are:
- ASME-ASME Auxiliary FIRST Clarke Scholarship
- Agnes Malakate Kezios Scholarship
- Allen J. Baldwin Scholarship
- Berna Lou Cartwright Scholarship
- Charles B. Scharp scholarship
- Elisabeth M. and Winchell M. Parsons Scholarship
- Marjorie Roy Rothermel Scholarship
- Sylvia W. Farny Scholarship
For these scholarships, the applicant must be an ASME member with a GPA of at least 3.0 in her degree program. In addition, the applicant must be enrolled in an ABET-accredited degree program. When an applicant submits for one scholarship, she is eligible for all available scholarships.
Women in Engineering Programs and Advocates Network (WEPAN)
The Women in Engineering Programs and Advocates Network (WEPAN) Grants program gives funds to undergraduate and graduate students. The selection process is competitive with the student’s GPA and financial need for assistance taken into consideration.
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) offers several scholarships for women pursuing a career in technological and computer-related fields. Some scholarships are only accessible to IEEE members, but other funds are open to any female engineering student.
Admiral Grace Murray Hopper Scholarship
The Admiral Grace Murray Hopper Scholarship was established in honor of Grace Brewster Murray Hopper, who devised the theory of machine-independent programming languages and is the originator of the COBOL language. The SWE provides scholarships to female engineering students.
Women in Technology Scholarship
The Women in Technology Scholarship program awards female students studying information technology. All applicants must have at least a 3.0 GPA with academic and extracurricular excellence. The scholarship recipient receives an opportunity to accept an internship with Morgan Stanley’s IT department.
Competitions for Women Engineers
The SWE offers two competitions. The Collegiate Poster & Rapid-Fire Competition emphasizes the ability to deliver outstanding visual presentations. Its Boeing-sponsored competition, the Team Tech Competition, emphasizes the importance of teamwork and interface with industries in the engineering educational process.
Career Resources for Women Engineers
During their career, having access to resources is essential for women to help them at all career stages. Some career resources for women include:
Women’s Engineering Society (WES)
The Women’s Engineering Society (WES) was founded in 1919 to help women in engineering. They promote the education of women in engineering and advance public education about engineering among women.
The Engineer Girl website from the National Academy of Engineering inspires young girls and women to pursue engineering careers. The site offers information and links to scholarships, organizations, and the history of women in engineering.
MentorNet provides a platform for women engineers, employers, and others seeking mentors and mentees. Having a mentor can help women engineers move forward in their careers with helpful advice and guidance from someone with experience and knowledge in the field.
Tips for Executives Looking to Hire More Women Engineers
If you want top talent in your organization, you might be hiring more women engineers. If you want them to stay, you’ll want to cultivate a positive work culture that’s not just about salary and benefits but also the support you provide to employees, especially women.
Hiring more women engineers means the company culture must allow people to feel safe and heard. To this end, company policies must clearly indicate zero tolerance for harassment and bigotry. In addition, a reporting mechanism for harassment and consequences for those who harass must be in place.
However, it’s not enough to guarantee your employees’ psychological and physical safety. Women engineers must have opportunities to thrive in their careers. Mentor programs, training opportunities, and company policies that promote women in your workplace are all essential to your recruitment efforts.
How to Keep Women in Engineering
Engineering companies face serious gender-based retention problems. According to a study from the Harvard Business Review (HBR), over 40% of highly skilled women who enter engineering end up leaving. However, employers can retain more women engineers at their workplace and avoid the cost of hiring and re-training with the following tips
Giving employees opportunities to acquire skills and knowledge beyond their current skill levels is essential to employee retention. Stretch assignments help women develop confidence in their potential, enhance their career networks, and move their careers forward.
Constructive Personalized Feedback
Constructive personalized feedback helps women overcome uncertainties about their work roles, especially when starting their careers. Guidance for further improvement and highlighting their strengths helps women thrive in their careers.
An Inclusive Microenvironment
Inclusiveness and diversity are essential in retaining female engineering employees. Creating a safe workspace where diverse opinions are heard helps retain female engineers and makes the workplace more productive.
Workplaces that value work-family balance are more successful in retaining female engineering employees. For both male and female employees, balancing family and work can mean less stress and more confidence in their ability to function in the workplace. Workplace options such as job sharing, remote work, hybrid remote, and flexible leave can help promote work-life balance for employees.
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About WES – Who We Are | Women’s Engineering Society. https://www.wes.org.uk/content/about-wes-who-we-are. Accessed 27 Aug. 2022.
Admiral Grace Murray Hopper Scholarship (Est. 1992) – Society of Women Engineers. https://swe.org/scholarships/admiral-grace-murray-hopper-scholarship-est-1992/. Accessed 27 Aug. 2022.
Collegiate Competitions – Society of Women Engineers. https://swe.org/awards/collegiate-competitions/. Accessed 28 Aug. 2022.
Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Awards | NSF – National Science Foundation. https://www.nsf.gov/awards/award_links.jsp?org=cise. Accessed 27 Aug. 2022.
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IEEE – The World’s Largest Technical Professional Organization Dedicated to Advancing Technology for the Benefit of Humanity. https://www.ieee.org/. Accessed 28 Aug. 2022.
MentorNet – Great Minds in STEM. https://greatmindsinstem.org/mentornet/. Accessed 27 Aug. 2022.
Sikora Drake STEM Scholarship | Bold.Org. https://bold.org/scholarships/sikora-drake-stem-scholarship/. Accessed 27 Aug. 2022.
What Managers Can Do to Keep Women in Engineering. https://hbr.org/2018/06/what-managers-can-do-to-keep-women-in-engineering. Accessed 27 Aug. 2022.
Who We Are – Graduate Women In Science. https://www.gwis.org/page/who_we_are. Accessed 27 Aug. 2022.
Women in Engineering ProActive Network, Inc. https://www.wepan.org/. Accessed 28 Aug. 2022.
Women in STEM 2022 Scholarship | The BHW Group. https://thebhwgroup.com/scholarship. Accessed 28 Aug. 2022.
Women in Tech, Future of Big Data, Morgan Stanley Scholarships/Internships – Bureau of Partnerships. https://partnership.itb.ac.id/women-in-tech-future-of-big-data-morgan-stanley-scholarships-internships/. Accessed 27 Aug. 2022.
Women Making Gains in STEM Occupations but Still Underrepresented. https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2021/01/women-making-gains-in-stem-occupations-but-still-underrepresented.html. Accessed 28 Aug. 2022.