From the aerospace sector to Silicon Valley, engineering has a retention problem: Close to 40 percent of women with engineering degrees either leave the profession or never enter the field.
“It’s not women who need to change — it’s the work environment that does,” she said.
The study found that only 17 percent of women left engineering because of caregiving reasons, which Fouad said dispels the notion that pregnancy plays a big part in keeping women out. But she does point out that many of those who did leave to stay home with children did so because their companies did not offer flexible enough work-life policies.
“We’ve found that women stay in engineering because they want to make sure they are making a difference,” she says. “If women feel they are making that difference, retention levels will be higher.”