No matter who or how old you are, we all have three core emotional needs: to be loved and valued, to belong, and to have power over our circumstances. At Converge@Seattle, I talked about how engineering can meet all these needs, and in so doing, appeal to girls and others who may never have imagined themselves in the profession. In the United States, we’re concerned about a shortage of engineers in tomorrow’s workforce, so we’ve added engineering to the national science standards for kindergarten through high school. This means we have an unprecedented opportunity to foster in students not only engineering habits of mind, but empathic habits of heart—habits that lead to deep satisfaction in work and relationships—for girls as well as for all learners.
Women are not an issue or a problem. Women are a solution in and of themselves. We don’t need the data to tell us this but, still, the data is clear on this point. Women are not better than men; women are different from men. And, it is this difference that brings the opportunity for new solutions to old problems as well as problems yet to come. Each of us – male and female – approaches the challenges of life with a unique perspective. As a gender, men have a shared life experience that is different from women.