The classic stereotype of an engineer – a man who is brilliant at and passionate about technology, but not so good at dealing with people – bears little resemblance to actual engineers or their work, according to new research from the University of Edinburgh. These stereotypes hamper the engineering professions efforts to recruit women, says Dr Wendy Faulkner who carried out the study.
Dr Faulkner, who interviewed and observed 66 men and women engineers working in a range of industries, says: "Women and men engineers alike get excited about technology –even though fewer of the women have a tinkerer background. There are gadget girls as well as boys and their toys in engineering. At the same time, many different types of men and women enjoy engineering work – very few fit the classic stereotype.
She adds: "In practice, engineering encompasses a wide variety of jobs and roles. It is a broad church with room for a diverse range of people. Yet the image of engineering – and often the culture – remains a narrowly technical, nuts and bolts one.
Linda Menzies | EurekAlert!
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