Girls Coming To Tech!: A History Of American Engineering Education For Women by Amy Sue BixGirls Coming To Tech!: A History Of American Engineering Education For Women by Amy Sue Bix

Girls Coming To Tech!: A History Of American Engineering Education For Women

byAmy Sue Bix

Hardcover | January 31, 2014

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How women coped with both formal barriers and informal opposition to their entry into the traditionally masculine field of engineering in American higher education.

Engineering education in the United States was long regarded as masculine territory. For decades, women who studied or worked in engineering were popularly perceived as oddities, outcasts, unfeminine (or inappropriately feminine in a male world). In Girls Coming to Tech!, Amy Bix tells the story of how women gained entrance to the traditionally male field of engineering in American higher education.

As Bix explains, a few women breached the gender-reinforced boundaries of engineering education before World War II. During World War II, government, employers, and colleges actively recruited women to train as engineering aides, channeling them directly into defense work. These wartime training programs set the stage for more engineering schools to open their doors to women. Bix offers three detailed case studies of postwar engineering coeducation. Georgia Tech admitted women in 1952 to avoid a court case, over objections by traditionalists. In 1968, Caltech male students argued that nerds needed a civilizing female presence. At MIT, which had admitted women since the 1870s but treated them as a minor afterthought, feminist-era activists pushed the school to welcome more women and take their talent seriously.

In the 1950s, women made up less than one percent of students in American engineering programs; in 2010 and 2011, women earned 18.4% of bachelor's degrees, 22.6% of master's degrees, and 21.8% of doctorates in engineering. Bix's account shows why these gains were hard won.

Amy Sue Bix is Associate Professor in the Department of History at Iowa State University, where she is also the Director of the Center for Historical Studies of Technology and Science.
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Title:Girls Coming To Tech!: A History Of American Engineering Education For WomenFormat:HardcoverDimensions:376 pages, 9 × 7 × 0.88 inPublished:January 31, 2014Publisher:The MIT PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:026201954X

ISBN - 13:9780262019545

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Editorial Reviews

How women coped with both formal barriers and informal opposition to their entry into the traditionally masculine field of engineering in American higher education.Engineering education in the United States was long regarded as masculine territory. For decades, women who studied or worked in engineering were popularly perceived as oddities, outcasts, unfeminine (or inappropriately feminine in a male world). In Girls Coming to Tech!, Amy Bix tells the story of how women gained entrance to the traditionally male field of engineering in American higher education. As Bix explains, a few women breached the gender-reinforced boundaries of engineering education before World War II. During World War II, government, employers, and colleges actively recruited women to train as engineering aides, channeling them directly into defense work. These wartime training programs set the stage for more engineering schools to open their doors to women. Bix offers three detailed case studies of postwar engineering coeducation. Georgia Tech admitted women in 1952 to avoid a court case, over objections by traditionalists. In 1968, Caltech male students argued that nerds needed a civilizing female presence. At MIT, which had admitted women since the 1870s but treated them as a minor afterthought, feminist-era activists pushed the school to welcome more women and take their talent seriously.In the 1950s, women made up less than one percent of students in American engineering programs; in 2010 and 2011, women earned 18.4% of bachelor's degrees, 22.6% of master's degrees, and 21.8% of doctorates in engineering. Bix's account shows why these gains were hard won.Bix has amply documented the attitudes and circumstances surrounding the coming of coeducation to American engineering, chiefly in the years after the Curtiss-Wright cadettes of World War II. In so doing she has broken new ground in the field of gender and technology. In particular she shows that while most trustees, deans, faculty members and their advisors came grudgingly to approve of the move to admit (a few) women students, the male students, individually and through their various fraternities and publications, were largely and vehemently opposed. Their stunted psychosocial responses, including ostracism, exclusion, ridicule, misogyny, voyeurism, pornography, stalking, and more, were out of all proportion to the actual threat. Engineering evidently needed women, and fortunately an intrepid few stayed to fight.-Margaret Rossiter, Marie Underhill Noll Professor of History of Science, Cornell University; author of Women Scientists in America trilogy; and MacArthur Prize Fellow (1989-1994)