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noemit 9 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite

Ironically, when I left engineering for law, I met tons of left-brain women, many of whom would’ve been great engineers despite never even considering it. And thinking back to my AP computer science class in high school with just one girl it, and all the push back taking about whether gender parity in engineering is even a justifiable goal to strive for—who can blame them? Who wants to struggle with being a minority in their profession when they don’t have to?

But it’s a shame. Engineering is a socially valuable profession, and a great analytical framework for approaching almost anything else in life. We as a society lose out when our best and brightest women (quite rationally) stay away from it and do something else.

It’s also a tyranny of low expectations situation. Life isn’t just about you. You have an obligation to use your talants to serve society. Doctors, nurses, and teachers contribute a lot, but they’re not going to save humanity from global warming or turn us into a multi-planet species. People who can do that—including women—should feel some social pressure to do it.

The stories I hear from my female friends in law, medicine, non-profit, etc -- especially law -- make my experiences as a woman in tech seem downright blessed. Yet you never hear people telling women not to go into law (or whatever) due to discrimination.

Tech is not perfect, but I wish I had known about it sooner than college as an option for me. Once discovered, I totally fell in love with it and had to play catchup. That is why I spent time mentoring high school girls who were considering engineering, and a lot of them ended up pursuing it now that they are in college.

I think unilaterally pushing girls one way or another is wrong, but a lot of girls don't get as much exposure to tech so it is helpful to specifically tell them about it.

> do literally anything else other than engineering

That is incredibly aggressive advice. I'd imagine you have to have a pretty bad experience to suggest something like that.

That said, as tech continues to go more and more mainstream, the "4chan boys club" is broken up and diluted continually, and each successive cohort has it a little bit easier. This is social progress and something worth pushing for.

It's fine to say something isn't for you or a point in time sucks, but the blanket advice against encouraging women in engineering is misplaced.

Be a youtube beauty guru. Start a for-profit career counseling firm for high schoolers. Go to clown school. Be an instagram model.

So... two versions of being professionally pretty, clowning, and counseling high schoolers.

No self-esteem issues there...

Edit: “Instagram model” was the quote... not a whole lot of wiggle room there. I’d add that clowning does not pay well and is dying around the world, and I’m not an engineer.

Any other wild swings you’d like to make?

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