BarbaraH, you beat me to it. I also belive that Brian's data is *possibly* inaccurate but most certainly misleading.
When I graduated BSCS in 2001, the make-up of most of my classes was about along the percentages you cited: 18-20% female to male students. In the three jobs I've held since graduating, only once was I the only female in the engineering dept. In fact, at the job I worked while I was finishing my degree, the engineering dept. split was nearly 50-50!
I can think of two things that might account for the numbers Brian came up with:
1.) Did they only count those people holding EE degrees? I've known far fewer women with EE's vs CE or CS degrees.
2.) Did most of the data come from defense contractors?
Brian, can you cite your reference for this statement, "Engineering is 93-95 percent male ..."?
I don't argue with the points that you make, but I don't think the data is accurate.
18% of the BS engineering and computer science degrees in 2009-2010 were granted to women. 21% of the PhDs in engineering in 2009 were granted to women. My source is the Engineering Workforce Commission (and via an article in "The Bent of Tau Beta Pi, Spring 2011).
There is no more "level playing field" than an engineering curriculum; Everyone takes the same classes, most of us claw our way though differential equations and calculus..
Has anyone ever considered that maybe, just *maybe* -- young women do not find engineering appealing as a career ?
Despite the politician's inate desire to control everything, I don't see anything preventing women from becoming engineers. The answer to the "Where's the women" question may be quite simple: Guys just want to play with bigger and better toys.
The female university faculty ratio is a red herring. My daughter's high school math and science teachers seem to be evenly split between men and women. That's the ratio she will see when she chooses her college major. She's not going to investigate the number of female engineering professors and change her major. I don't even think she would particularly care.
This is not a problem. Women simply aren't as attracted to engineering as men are....and that's OK. Men (in general) aren't as attracted to Cosmetology (Beauty School) but there's not some national drive to get more men into that profession. The doors for women to get into engineering are wide open. If you're interested in engineering, come on in. If you're not, it ain't no big deal. Do what you love.
I wonder what percentage of female university freshmen declare engineering as their major, relative to the percentage that graduate with an engineering degree.
My very andecdotal, unscientific observation is that there are lot more incoming freshman women starting out in engineering these days, compard to when I was in school. If most of them stick with it and graduate with an engineering degree, their graduating class will be far more balanced than the 93-95% male number quoted by Brian.