Bouville-women-engineering - On enrolling more female...

Info icon This preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
On enrolling more female students in science and engineering Mathieu Bouville Institute of Materials Research and Engineering, Singapore 117602 and Institute of High Performance Computing, Singapore 117528 Many people hold this truth to be self-evident that universities should enroll more female students in science and engineering; the main question then being how. Typical arguments include possible benefits to women, possible benefits to the economy, and the unfairness of the current female under- representation. However, when clearly stated and scrutinized these arguments in fact lead to the conclusion that there should be more women in scientific disciplines in higher education in the sense that we should expect more women (which various kinds of discrimination may prevent), not that we should actively enroll more women. Outreach programs towards high school students may therefore be logically incompatible with the arguments supposed to justify them. They should purport to allow women to graduate in a field congruent with her abilities and desires, rather than try to draw as many of them to scientific disciplines as possible: one cannot try to ‘recruit’ as many female students as possible while claiming to help them choose more freely. Keywords: ethics; gender equity; higher education; philosophy; policy Article published by Science and Engineering Ethics doi : 10.1007/s11948-007-9038-1 Available at: http://www.springerlink.com/content/p04153mn11085q28/ INTRODUCTION — RAISING A HORSE FROM THE DEAD Far fewer women than men study science and engineering. It is often argued that women would benefit from graduating in a scientific discipline, due to higher salaries and the possibility to help others. Having more female engineers would also be beneficial to the economy because of the increasing need for engineers and of the positive impact of diversity on designs. Another argument is that this under- representation of women is unfair. Everyone then focuses on how to enroll more women in scientific disciplines. In most articles on the subject, a justifications for enrolling more female students are relegated to the introduction (i.e. the least important and least original part of the article). Some provide no justification at all or very vague ones, such as “for a variety of practical and moral reasons” [1]. The closest authors get to presenting arguments is naming them: they mention the name of an argument —rather than the argument itself—, say that it has been widely used (probably implying that it must therefore be valid), and move on. They for instance say “a lot of people argue for diversity in terms of fairness [ . . . ] but that’s not my argument” [2], “fairness is one answer, but certainly not the only one” [3], or “aside from the obvious issues of access, fairness and equity” [4] without ever actually making these arguments explicit. Yet, such words do not imply the existence (let alone the validity) of arguments any more than dragons exist because the word ‘dragon’ does. In fact, everyone is so convinced that
Image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern