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.
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.
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.
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?