When Elizabeth Bragg became the first American woman to earn an engineering degree in 1876, it seemed certain that women would advance in the field. Following in Bragg’s footsteps, Kate Gleason became the first woman to be admitted into Cornell University’s engineering school in 1884 and later became the first woman associate of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. In addition to these formally trained women, self-taught scholars such as Emily Warren Roebling, who took over the building of the Brooklyn Bridge when her father-in-law and husband were unable to assist, used her aptitude in math and physics to make the decisions necessary to construct one of America’s best-known monuments.
Today, women earn engineering degrees in a wide range of topics including chemical, civil, mechanical, and computer engineering. However, according to the new report Stemming the Tide: Why Women Leave Engineering, women make up only 11 percent of all engineering professionals even though they represent more than 20 percent of all engineering graduates…
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