The Atlantic

How Women Mentors Make a Difference in Engineering

They act as a “social vaccine” that protects female students against negative stereotypes and gives them a sense of belonging.
Source: Jose Manuel Ribeiro / Reuters

For some women, enrolling in an engineering course is like running a psychological gauntlet. If they dodge overt problems like sexual harassment, sexist jokes, or poor treatment from professors, they often still have to evade subtler obstacles like the implicit tendency to see engineering as a male discipline. It’s no wonder women in the U.S. hold just 13 to 22 percent of the doctorates in engineering, compared to an already-low 33 percent in the sciences as a whole.

Nilanjana Dasgupta, from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, thinks that mentors—people who can give advice, share experiences, or make social connections—can dismantle the gauntlet, and help young women to find their place

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic4 min readSociety
The Atlantic Daily: Up the Mountain
The lessons of a failed NASA experiment. Plus why Trump changed his stance on family separations, alleged insider trading, and more.
The Atlantic3 min read
Fallen Kingdom: Why Won’t Humans Just Leave the Dinosaurs Alone?
The fifth entry in the creaky Jurassic World franchise is too absurd and lazily plotted to enthrall.
The Atlantic4 min read
Nine Inch Nails Enters Its Least Compromising Phase Yet
The rock band’s Bad Witch completes a trilogy of terse, inventive, post-Trump blasts of rage.