Encouraging young women to pursue studies in traditionally male fields may seem like a no-brainer, but clearly there’s more work to be done. Recently actress Emma Watson received a tweet from a girl who was troubled by gender assumptions about her desired career.“[M]y dad says I can’t be a engineer ’cause it’s a ‘men profession’ what do I do to change that?” Watson’s reply: “Become an engineer.”
It’s solid advice that many young women appear to be taking. The University of Toronto reports that a record number of female students have enrolled in its engineering program—which the school says has traditionally been dominated by young men. More than 30 percent of first-year engineering students are now women, an increase of nearly 10 percent in just six years.
Academic standards are rising, too. The average grade for successful applicants is now 92.4 percent, another record for the university, which appears to be attracting the majority of young Canadian women who wish to enter the field.
The university credits a consistent, female-focused recruitment effort for the enrollment bump—including events like Go Eng Girl, in which girls from grades 7 to 10 visit the campus and learn more about careers in engineering from female professionals in the field.