Diversifying the engineering profession takes continued support

Posted in: Bridges, Construction, Environmental, Highways, Infrastructure, Water


Part of my network of strong women is Karen Wiemeri, who has worked on thousands of flood water engineering projects with me. We shared our love of water resources engineering projects with friends on a bike and barge trip through the Netherlands.
Part of my network of strong women is Karen Wiemeri, who has worked on thousands of flood water engineering projects with me. We shared our love of water resources projects with friends on a bike and barge trip through the Netherlands.

After some recent business lunches, I realized how much I value my great network of truly admirable female engineers. We share professional and personal experiences related to career growth, leadership and work-life balance. In short, we support and encourage one another.

This week we celebrate National Engineers Week, which made me curious about the number of women currently in engineering. The Society of Women Engineers conducts research as part of their mission to “stimulate women to achieve full potential in careers as engineers and leaders, expand the image of the engineering profession as a positive force in improving the quality of life, and demonstrate the value of diversity.”

According to SWE research, the trend continues for fewer females than males pursue and receive degrees in engineering. In general, interest has grown yet the percentage of females receiving degrees has remained relatively constant over the last 10 years. A further study shows that a greater percentage of females switch out of the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs to pursue a non-STEM degree when compared to their male counterparts.

Even with degrees, fewer women enter the workforce as an engineer and more females leave the profession over time when compared to males. The demand for engineers will continue to grow. This intensifies the need to promote engineering professions with underrepresented groups such as women and minorities.

If you want to learn more about the STEM gender gap, I encourage you to follow these links:

I am an engineer who enjoys solving problems and working with others find the best solution. I will continue to promote the field of engineering and encourage others to enter the profession any chance I get. I will also endeavor to support and empower my fellow female engineers for continued success.


Kari Nichols, PE

About the Author

If a raindrop falls on the project, Kari Nichols gets involved to find a storm water management solution. “I believe in dedication and follow-through,” she says. “Deciphering regulatory language and developing workable design solutions helps me connect with clients and colleagues.” Kari has a taste for adventure and a passion for sustainability, which she satisfies by exploring natural and urban environments.

Read more posts by Kari Nichols, PE

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