@SR, thanks for the comment. Your points are well taken. Yes, if men and women have been genuine peers and partners in the engineering community, testimonials from male colleagues would look odd. I would agree with you. And yet, we ever so often encounter a common misconception in the tech industry that the engineering profession, in principle and by nature, is gender-enutral, therefore, that women's underrepresentation in the engineering community poses no problems. For those who hold such a view (that women are by nature not interested in engineering, they are not up to play a leadership role, etc.), we wanted to demonstrate that those female engineers we picked have won much respect from their opposite sex -- through their hard work, engineering talent and leadership. Also, one more thing. Women, often a minority in a team, need someone willing to champion them. Many who wrote these testimonials were glad to play such a role.
To say that you can't be a sucessful VP and still be a hard-core engineer is ridiculous. Am I less of an engineer because I'm the one leading the team? And does that mean that I was never all that interested in enginering? And more to the point would you make that claim of a similar set of profiles of male VPs?
The founder and president of the company I work for is, as far as I can tell, just as passionate about engineering as he was when he started the company in his basement over 30 years ago. While he no longer is "hands-on" in product development, he still has a strong influence in it.
By the way, when I took a hiatus from active enployment for a few years, I chose to spend time doing engineering projects so you can't say that I was "not all that interested in engineering". I still love the hands-on engineering that I get to do but as a project leader, I get more influence in the end product.
Thanks, Junko, good article. Please take this comment for what its worth: why did you think it was a good idea to attach a testimonial for every profile? I am a male, and for me it would be equally odd to see a testimonial supporting a male profile. In fact I rarely see such testimonials attached when I read a profile of a male executive in the business/tech media. Seeing a testimonial next to a woman executive feels as though these executives need them for us readers to believe in them? Anyway...great article.
I appreciate the work that went into this list and it is enlightening. I would've appreciated more of a focus on the hard-core engineers who show true passion for the work. The best two examples on this list I see are Ms. Anshel and Ms. Hassine. You've tried to use examples of more-successful women, but many of the other examples on the list just reinforce the stereotype that women aren't interested in actual engineering and prefer to get into less-technical roles. Being the president of IEEE is certainly a success, but it's not a job which anybody with a deep passion about engineering would take on. They would eschew the soft jobs which entail countless meetings. It's as if you wanted to find why people had a passion for dancing and you interviewed the business manager for the ballet company. You understand what success is, but I don't know if you are grasping the underlying interest that drives a lot of men into the field. And I still don't get whom this is targeting. It is mostly men reading this article, and I know you think men are the problem, but I don't agree. Ms. Hassine says she had a curiosity about how car engines worked and wanted to understand them. Why did she care while most women don't? I don't know that you are closer to figuring that out.