July 1963 Electronics World
Table of Contents
People old and young
enjoy waxing nostalgic about and learning some of the history of early electronics. Electronics World
was published from May 1959 through December 1971. See all
Electronics World articles.
If you were to think the effort to encourage women to
join the ranks of engineers is a recent thing, you'd be wrong. Contrary to what news media rabble-rousers want you to believe, women have long been welcome in the engineering world. Some,
admittedly, were as welcomed by men into engineering as men were by women into nursing, but those
who persisted usually excelled. As hard as it is for social engineers to accept, evidently most
women, at least at this point in history, would rather pursue career fields other than engineering. I
have posted stories like this one from a 1963 edition of Electronics World that beseech girls and
women to pursue all the fields of science - not just engineering. See
Engineers and the
National Union Radio Corporation ad
in a 1945 Radio Craft, YL News and Views
in a 1953 QST,
"WAVE" in Naval Electronics in a 1957 Popular Electronics,
An Avocation Becomes a Vocation
in a 1943 QST, A Key
to Radio as a Vocation in a 1936 Radio Craft. There are others. Whatever you do,
though, don't read
Do You Understand Women?.
"Let's Woo the Woman Engineer"
For the Record
Wm. A. Stocklin, Editor
Personnel experts from industry and various Government agencies have continually stressed our need
for at least 80,000 engineering graduates a year if we are to meet the requirements of our space-age
"industrial revolution." As against this need we are, in actual fact, graduating less than 40,000 engineers
a year. If the shortage of engineers is as critical as the President's Science Advisory Committee says
it is, then both educational institutions and industry are faced with a gigantic task of convincing
prospective students of the benefits and satisfactions to be derived from a career in engineering.
Today the average annual salary for electronics engineers is approximately $7500 - a rather unimpressive
figure considering the educational investment an engineering degree represents. Although the going rate
of $5200 for electronics engineering graduates embarking on their first jobs is above that for many
other professions, this lure has apparently failed to attract potential students. In the minds of most
would-be engineers their profession has lost status during the past few years. Where, say, ten years
ago it was considered to be the No. 2 career, directly behind the legal profession, today it is running
a poor third, with the medical profession moving into the top spot.
Recent interviews with high-school graduates planning their college careers indicate all too clearly
that they are fully aware of these facts and that their opinions of the engineering profession are far
from flattering. One remark heard time and again was: "We don't like the idea of getting cornered behind
a slide-rule." It is obvious that these students visualize some future for themselves more satisfying
and grander than that of being an engineer. Although educators and vocational counselors have attempted
to combat this attitude by presenting facts about the challenges involved and the country's need for
engineers, they must have more ammunition if they are to channel more students into engineering courses.
They shouldn't have to tackle the job alone. Industry itself must do more than it has been doing in
An interesting sidelight on this problem was touched on recently by Herbert W. Hartley, president
of Northrop Institute of Technology, in the course of a series of talks to students in Southern California.
Speaking on the subject, "Let's Woo the Woman Engineer," Mr. Hartley suggested that if industry cannot
meet its quota of electronics engineers from among the male student body, women should be encouraged
to enter the profession. Many women work as electronics draftsmen, and there is no reason why a mathematics
- or science-oriented woman can't handle an engineering curriculum.
C. T. Reid, director of graduate placement for Northrup, surveyed more than 200 aerospace and electronics
firms on their attitudes toward hiring women engineers. Without exception they replied that not only
were they willing but eager to accept trained women for employment in various engineering categories.
"We find that women make excellent designers," reported North American Aviation's Space & Information
Systems Division. "They have done well for us in aerodynamics, stress analysis, and weight analysis."
Hughes Aircraft employs 80 women engineers. IBM has discovered that women perform better than men
as computer engineers and programmers. Women have also demonstrated their competence in every other
phase of computer engineering they've tackled.
One of the five design engineers on the "Tiros" weather satellite project was Mrs. Sima Miluschewa
of RCA's Astro-Electronics Division. One of the most attractive and capable women you'll meet anywhere
is Mrs. Marily Peck, an engineer with North American Aviation. Jack Leadbetter, president of Associated
Aero Science Laboratories, goes so far as to say "the average woman going in for engineering is better
than the average man." Perhaps she has to be in order to compete successfully in a profession that is
The Society of Women Engineers reports that out of 800,000 engineers in the United States today,
only 5000 are women. It is the consensus, however, that this situation will change drastically before
the start of the next decade. Whether or not women will enter the engineering profession in large numbers,
as has been the case in many other countries, is problematical as the path to an engineering degree
is still a thorny one for most women. In addition to some altering of physical facilities at what are
now predominantly male engineering strongholds, it will be necessary for educators and industry alike
to change the average woman's conception of engineering as a purely masculine career and that to follow
such a profession is "unladylike." This will take time - but once started - it is a trend that could
gather momentum - depending on how carefully the initial steps are planned
Posted February 6, 2017