Automakers Hold A Special Meeting In Detroit, To Campaign For More Female Engineers
Last week in Detroit, a high profile delegation made up of about 500 people gathered to discuss the gender gap in STEM jobs in the State of Michigan and the USA in general. The delegation consisted of Chief Information Officers (CIO) of General Electric, Cisco, Ford, Delta, General Motors, Biogen among others.
Maru Flores, the President of the Michigan Council of Women in Technology (MCWT), as cited by Freep.com, said, “Today, women hold only 27% of all computer science jobs, and that number isn’t growing.”
MCWT is an organization working hard to ensure more women take up careers in STEM related fields. MCWT held Tuesday’s standing-room-only event for the second year.
Flores, who is also a senior manager, global manufacturing development services at Ford. Further said, “Less than 20% of bachelor’s degree in computer science go to women, even though female graduates hold 60% of all bachelor degrees.”
Teri Takai, a former CIO of US Department of Defense, said girls are losing interest. He further added: “Addressing the issue begins in middle school. Sally Ride used to say that when she was young being an astronaut was cool. We need to restore that sense of cool.”
Randy Mott, senior vice president and CIO of GM, said, “The GM Foundation is also actively promoting women in STEM fields through the Buick Achievers program. To date, the program has given nearly $13 million in financial assistance to women to pursue STEM college majors.”
Mott was accompanied by Nick Smither, the vice president, and CIO of Ford Scott Sandchafer. The vice president and CIO of Chrysler was also present.
Mary Bara, the CEO of GM and the only female to hold such a top position at an automaker company, was used an example.
“Mary’s experience and the fact that she is an engineer by training makes her a terrific role model for girls and women interested in pursuing a degree in science, technology, engineering and math,” said, Mott.
Sandschafer talked about his two middle-school-age children and how his wife (who is an engineer) is working closely with his daughter to spark an interest for math in her. He further talked of a website his wife uses to help their daughter become interested in STEM: http://code.org/.
“The auto industry is seeing a severe shortage of students and recent graduates entering the workforce with the skills and knowledge necessary to move the business forward, particularly in technological fields. The situation is particularly acute in the U.S.,” said Smither.
“At Ford we understand that our company’s future success is dependent upon innovating the technologies that not only meet, but exceed, the demands of our customers. And exceeding those expectations will only happen with the right talent.”