Monday, April 16, 2012

What is the male to female ratio really like?

"What is the male to female ratio like?"

You know, I don't mind this question when it comes from future female engineer students or their parents. Future male students don't typically ask this question...but it's not uncommon for their parents to ask me...which I personally think is awkward. 

It's like pointing the negative, similar to, "I see you are the poorest person in the neighborhood. What's it like?" I know people are trying to be sincere...but there are other ways you can approach it.... Here's why I don't like this question:

  • Future female engineering students don't ask this question. They say, "how do you deal with the ratio?" because they are putting themselves into this situation in the near future.
  • You could ask me, "I'm glad you are putting yourself out there to become a female engineer." They can allude to the problem, but not force me into an awkward, "I know I'm the only one, but let me count to make sure" way.

My answer:
"Haha, well I think the statistics say that it's 15%, but it seems to get less as less as a go on, haha. What do you think, [major advisor]?"

What do you think about this question?


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