Chair Force Engineer

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

A Thought About Diversity

If you have ever worked in aerospace or other technology sectors, you've probably heard the phrase "there's no diversity in the workplace" at least once. I do not believe that the tech sector is trying to be discriminatory; it's just that the tech sector as a whole is not as diverse as the rest of society. The industry at large has to admit this is a problem and make a concerted effort to fix it.

The college I went to was a small technical school. Much to the chagrin of male students, the female enrollment was only 18% of the student body. Under such extreme circumstances, an appreciation for a diverse workforce begins to grow amongst the future generations of engineers.

In spite of the "sausage fest" atmosphere at the school, there were still organizations (such as Society of Women Engineers and National Society of Black Engineers) which promoted diversity in engineering and related fields. Nevertheless, groups like SWE and NSBE can't fix the problem by themselves. There is plenty that the private sector can do (such as offering scholarships and sponsoring math & science competitions) that can bridge the educational divide (at the primary and secondary school levels) and try to alleviate the problem that exists in the industry.

Sometimes we want to "party all the time" (to paraphrase Eddie Murphy's song debut,) but all parties must come to an end. Hopefully we will see a more diverse workforce, and the tech sector "sausage party" will meet its end within my lifetime.