I truly believe that we cannot deal effectively with the issue of women in engineering if we start our analysis only at the point of university entrance. By then, I think, it is often too late because barriers have already been created or opportunities denied. As with so many issues in education, we have to view them in their broadest context and to recognize that education, and the career options which it supports, is a continuum over time and that each succeeding phase depends heavily on the preceding ones. (Sylvia Fedoruk, The Lieutenant Governor, Province of Saskatchewan, Prairie Region Forum).

In Chapters 1 through 6, we examine the numerous and complex ways in which culture channels girls away from engineering prerequisites (mathematics, physics and chemistry) and discourages those with aptitudes for and interests in engineering from considering careers in that profession. To counteract and overcome these negative influences, the CCWE makes recommendations with two main goals in mind: by 1997, girls and boys will pursue mathematics and science in equal numbers, especially at advanced levels throughout high school, and women will represent 25 to 35 percent of first-year engineering students across Canada.

Our recommendations are not unique. Some have been made previously by such organizations as the Canadian Teachers' Federation, the Science Council of Canada, Status of Women Canada, and the Council of Ministers of Education. Some initiatives have already been successfully implemented (Appendix C). The CCWE recognizes that educators in Canada are making progress in the promotion of gender equity in the classroom and in the effective teaching of mathematics, science and technology to girls and young women. We especially commend teachers and guidance counsellors who are encouraging young women to consider nontraditional careers, including engineering.

Educators of engineers, employers of engineers and associations of professional engineers have a responsibility to promote engineering and to support women engineers (Chapters 8, 14 and 19, respectively).

Girls who are interested in mathematics, science, technology and engineering at a young age are more likely pursue these subjects later on. They will also have many more education and career options open to them when they finish high school.

The problem of women's low representation in the engineering profession should not be viewed in isolation. Increasing women's involvement in a broad range of programs, including apprenticeship training in the skilled trades and in community college technology programs, as well as in the physical sciences at the university level, depends on early educational preparation and changing the familial and societal attitudes. We need to build the confidence of young girls in their mechanical and mathematical abilities (Patricia Gentry, Council of Ontario Universities, Ontario Forum).

Chapter 1 - Pink Blanket/Blue Blanket
Chapter 2 - Matching Self-Esteem
Chapter 3 - Mathematics and Science for Girls Too
Chapter 4 - Career Guide to Engineering
Chapter 5 - Introducing Living Proof
Chapter 6 - Extra Activities