At the recent ICE graduates and students event in the north west, I was disheartened to hear ICE president Quentin Leiper conclude that women may even be generally better at engineering than men.
When will we put aside political correctness about the gender issue and pursue civil engineering's best interests?
Yes, male and female engineers from a variety of ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds with diverse natural and learned skill sets enable civil engineering to move forward in providing innovative solutions to increasingly complex problems. However, the contribution white males make to this diversity should be as respected as the contribution of any minority.
Given the looming skills shortage, it would be folly to focus school recruiting efforts specifically on girls instead of informing all students about civil engineering.
At university, several of my female classmates who were pressured to study engineering switched to another field a year or two later when they realised engineering did not suit them.
Surely openly presenting both the opportunities and prerequisites of being a competent engineer and encouraging all interested students should be our aim if we want to advance civil engineering.
Kelly Blackwell, kelly_e_ blackwell@hotmail. com