The efforts of the Canadian Coalition of Women in Sciences, Engineering and Technology described last week have struck a chord with our readers. I, too, have doubts about the restructured high school curriculum in Ontario, but Allan J. Willy of Toronto says it best:
"Could the drop in women in sciences and engineering be greatest in the Province of Ontario? My daughter who was good in math and science, and enjoyed both in elementary school, appears to have lost interest in high school. Ontario's new curriculum began for her in Grade IX, and she has been struggling (along with many classmates) with maths and sciences ever since and is now in Grade XI. Her desire to become a sports medicine doctor has now been replaced by possibly a law degree as she finds sciences and maths extremely difficult. There are always a few students who are very bright and can grasp difficult concepts and go on to high levels of engineering and science studies in university. What of the more normal, average student? Perhaps Ontario's new curriculum for sciences and maths is having the opposite effect in that they are discouraging rather than encouraging interest not only in young women but also young men. Comments?"
Not only the professions but academia also has a shortage of women in science and engineering, says P. Mousset-Jones. "Increasing numbers of women are studying science and engineeringin fact, more women than ever are receiving PhDs in these fields. But a recent study shows that they are not going on to serve in science and engineering faculties."
We'd like to hear from more women about the reasons behind their science and engineering choices.