Paladin Medical prides itself on being an organization with a talented and diverse group of individuals striving to make a difference. This starts at the top – as president of Paladin Medical, Elaine Duncan is focused on making a difference. She strives to do so by utilizing diversity.
Appointed to the sub-committee on diversity at the University of Kentucky College of Engineering Dean’s Advisory Committee, Duncan is attempting to help the college deal with a number of problems involving diversity, mainly enrollment and retention issues for females and minorities.
A Bigger Problem
University of Kentucky is certainly not the only school that has had issues with females in engineering, nor is it the only field of study or industry that suffers from a lack of women. Industries such as technology, engineering, science, computing and many more, often showcase a strikingly low number of women.
To put this into perspective, only 12% of the engineering workforce is made up of women. While up from 9% in 1990, this number is staggeringly low. Yet, workforce participation by women in computing and mathematical occupations has fallen dramatically. Since 1990, the percentage of women in these fields has fallen 9% – dropping to an abysmal 26% in 2013.
Bias Is Bad For Business
While many factors could be attributed to these astonishing statistics, stereotypes and biases are holding everyone back. One study found engineering firms only employ the higher performing candidates 69% of the time. Yet, 29% of the time, a lower performing man is selected. Only 2% of the time is a lower performing woman is selected.
This is a problem. The United States will need almost 2 million more engineers and computer scientists in less than 10 years. Women need to be filling these spots more often. Adding women can increase productivity, innovation and creativity. Yet, nothing is being done to address this issue.
The Problem Is Solvable
While the issue of women in engineering is barely being addressed, women in other typically male dominated fields are pushing barriers and finding success. One industry taking on stereotypes head on is the technology industry.
Silicon Valley Stereotypes
While Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer may be stars of the technology world these days, Silicon Valley is still a boys club. Yet, people are starting to come around to changing the way things work in Silicon Valley. One young woman, Najia Bulous – believes she can, “re-engineer the culture of Silicon Valley to be more inclusive of women and people from underrepresented groups.” She faces an uphill battle as she starts work for a tech giant in Silicon Valley this year, but she is pushing barriers.
The Powers At eBay Have Taken Notice
Not only are recent college graduates hoping to change the way things work in technology, even large companies like eBay and famous politicians like Hilary Clinton have begun to notice. eBay recently held their annual Women’s Initiative Network Summit, which featured Hilary Clinton as the keynote speaker. eBay is one of the few technology companies taking a proactive approach to hiring women in tech, and their diversity statistics show this.
Hilary believes they are going in the right direction, but there is more work to be done. She stated, “this isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do for eBay’s bottom line. Inclusivity in the 21stcentury is a recipe for success. It brings fresh ideas and higher revenues.”
It’s Time To Step Up
While the issue of women in tech is beginning to be addressed, the issue of women in engineering has not made much progress in decades. Tech and engineering firms will need to change their biases and stereotypes to retain the talented women engineers who do apply. In turn, these women can serve as role models for young students who might consider a career in engineering.
Paladin Medical is trying to help make a difference by mentoring young women engineers, sponsoring a scholarship and raising awareness about the issue.