RISE UP/GEAR UP

Women break barriers in engineering and computer science

Women break barriers in engineering and computer science at some top colleges, reports an article in The Washington Post.

 — Women are making major gains in enrollment in engineering and computer science at some of the nation’s most prominent colleges and universities, a breakthrough that shows that gender parity is possible in technology fields long dominated by men.

More than half of engineering bachelor’s degrees at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology went to women in 2015, federal data shows. The same was true at Dartmouth College this year. The majority of computer science majors at California’s Harvey Mudd College are women. Here at Carnegie Mellon University, women account for nearly half of first-year computer science students — 48 percent, a school record.

These and other examples underscore an evolution in fields vital to the nation’s economy. While men still far outnumber women nationally — 4 to 1 in engineering, 5 to 1 in computer science — female students are gaining ground slowly at many schools and rapidly at others. The shift gained attention last year when women fed up with gender stereotypes posted photographs of themselves on social media with a hashtag that went viral — #ilooklikeanengineer.