Dartmouth College has made engineering history. The college has had more women than male graduates in engineering studies. Dartmouth, since 2015, had implemented a quota that saw at least 37 percent of engineering classes consisting of female students. In 2016, the number of female attendees stood at 54 percent of the class. Meaning, more women graduated than men. The United States sees only one-fifth of undergraduate engineering degrees going to women, but Dartmouth has just undercut that fact.
The students are graduating with their bachelor of arts in engineering. Dartmouth's engineering qualifications are not structured like other colleges or universities. Nonetheless, an interest in engineering in females has been a concern, so a bachelor of arts in engineering is progress. Out of 119 graduates in the course, 64 of those were women. The course is a four-year course and a fifth year is available that will focus more on the technical side of engineering. If they opt for the fifth year, they get their Bachelor of Engineering degrees.
The Dean of Engineering at Dartmouth, Joseph Helble, said: "We've been able to attract more students, and especially women, by letting them use engineering to solve real-world challenges. They quickly learn how their creativity and engineering skills can make a difference."
Last week we mentioned the study that outlined the gender gap and the motivations for women who leave engineering. Sexism within the industry was a major concern to the female engineers that took part in the study.
It was also revealed that women account for only 20 percent of undergraduate engineering degrees in the United States, and only 13 percent of the graduated workforce is female. Here's hoping Dartmouth's results cause a domino effect and start inspiring more women to get into engineering.
According to a recent study by CV-Library, 56.6% of 500 female engineers believe that engineering was still perceived to be a male-run industry. However, Randy Atkins, the director of communication for the National Academy of Engineering says this is all going to change. He said: "We're changing the image of engineering to a creative profession, a problem-solving profession. That is resonating with more women, helping them see engineering in a new way."