A collaboratively written letter to the editor of the New York Times article (April 27, 2015) "How To Attract Female Engineers, " which inspired my previous blog post on the subject.

To Professor Nilsson we say: "Yes, and."

Increasing the percentage of women in engineering will better the field, expanding the kinds of work engineers do. We are professors, students, staff, and alumni from an engineering school enrolling 50% women, many in traditional fields of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering. Here students, across the curriculum, do technical engineering work embedded in social context, from designing equipment for small-scale farmers to building prosthetic fingers for a grandmother who wants to play LEGO with grandchildren.

We absolutely need more of this in engineering. But let’s not accidentally create "caring enclaves" for women, where this work may be perceived as less technical (and thus easier) than traditional engineering work. We often hear that traditional engineering (i.e., male-dominated, ultra-technical, not-people-oriented) is technically more difficult. This assertion is untrue and damaging: it can lead to the expectation that the rest of engineering is fine as is. Siloing women in “caring" forms of engineering may perpetuate the very gender-based stereotypes and hierarchies that many of us work to eradicate as we battle everyday sexism in the field.

The authors of this letter are all affiliated with Olin College of Engineering in Needham, Massachusetts (faculty, staff, students, alumni).

Debbie Chachra
Ingrid Hagen-Keith
Caitrin Lynch
Alisha Sarang-Sieminski
Lynn Andrea Stein
Lauren Taaffe
Yevgeniya V. Zastavker
Rehana Patel
Sara Hendren
Anne LoVerso
Mitchell Cieminski
Gabrielle Waldman-Fried
Ellen Chisa
Diana Vermilya
Carmella McCormack
Kari Bender
Kate Maschan
Eric Munsing
Boris Taratutin
Rebecca J. Christianson
Elizabeth Kneen
Kate Dramstad
Mikell Taylor
Carisa Rubi Leal
Jessica Townsend
Emily Wang
Kristina Cary
Sarah Waskom
Joanne Pratt
Meagan Vaughan
Melissa Yu
Rachel Mathew
Chen Santillan Wang
Pearl Donohoo-Vallett
Maruta Vitols
Jennifer Simonovich
Natalie Mattison
Julianna Stockton
Alison Shin
Ananya Kejriwal
Erika Swartz
Jessie Lin
Suzy Hong
Rachel Nancollas
Jessica Anderson
Mariah Dunn
Tiana Veldwisch
Victoria Hsiao
Preeta Willemann
Jessica Noglows
Jackie Rose
Morgan Boes
Meryl Stark
Kristen Dorsey
Mel Chua
Heena Mutha
Emily Tisei Moscol
Ash Walker
Angela Sharer
Casey Landey
Kimly Do
Bukky Adebayo
Leah Mendelson
Kendall Pletcher
Gracie Sanford
Rachel Bobbins
Jessi Murray
Sara Wheeland
Jessica Donahoe
Rebecca Schutzengel
Kristina Raposa
Sharon Breitbart
Linda Canavan
Molly Farison
Charleen Laughlin
Lawrence Neeley
Rob Martello
Jordyn Burger
Andrea Lai
Herbert Chang
Ilana Walder-Biesanz
Alyssa Levitz
Jeffrey Atkinson
Sarah Walters
Siddhartan Govindasamy
Sebastian Dziallas
Becky Belisle
Allison Bahme
Chris Carrick
Matt Wootton
David Adamec
Harold Jaffe
Stanislaw Antol
Allen Koh
Joan Liu
Erika Boeing
Ariana Chae
Jennifer Wei
Ambika Goel
Bill Warner
Cody Wheeland
Dave Rowley
Sarah Leavitt

(If you're an Olin community member and want to support this post, feel free to add your name and Olin affiliation in a comment below.)