Should there be more women in science and engineering?

Bouville, Mathieu (2006) Should there be more women in science and engineering? (Unpublished)


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Many people hold this truth to be self-evident, that there should be more female students in science and engineering. We first examine four usual arguments: higher salaries, the possibility to help others, the positive impact of diversity on designs, and the increasing need for engineers. These indicate that there ought to be a mutual attraction between women and scientific fields, so that there should be more women in these fields inasmuch as women are motivated to graduate in science and engineering. Another common argument is that women are under-represented in scientific fields. Yet under-representation is morally neutral and cannot by itself be a justification. Focusing on ethics rather than statistics, we conclude that every woman should be allowed to graduate in a field congruent with her abilities and desires. This is similar to the result of mutual attraction. Outreach programs towards K-12 girls must therefore purport to allow them to choose a field freely, rather than try to draw as many of them to scientific disciplines as possible. At the very minimum, this will require an evaluation of the impact of outreach and a change of mindset.

Item Type:Other
Keywords:female students, gender equity, higher education, university, ethics, policy, outreach programs, minority students
Subjects:Philosophy > Ethics
ID Code:5367
Deposited By: Bouville, Mathieu
Deposited On:18 Jan 2007
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:56

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