At US News & World Report's STEM Education blog, the University of Virginia's Joanne McGrath Cohoon says that technical fields need capable women, "especially at a time when unemployment is high and our economy is weak." But McGrath Cohoon says attracting women to work in STEM fields will be difficult until "women experience the same conditions as their male classmates," and gender-based stereotypes fade.
"Evidence continues to mount that capable women in technical fields have less confidence than men that they will be successful," McGrath Cohoon says. "Unfortunately, many of these women are wrong. They could succeed in engineering or computing, and it is in our interest that they do."
In the meantime, she adds, educators can take action by giving their female students "lots of opportunities to succeed at technical tasks." McGrath Cohoon also suggests verbal encouragement. "With these steps, we could double the number of technical people working to make this a better world," she says.