II. What Can Be Done ?

In 1992, the Canadian Committee on Women in Engineering released its recommendations to attract and retain women in engineering. One of the crucial factors to change the attitude toward women in engineering was identified as cooperation from educators. In particular, the Committee recommended that universities "commit, in principle and in practice, to the recruitment and retention of women faculty and students, especially in faculties of engineering", and that "faculties and schools of engineering develop programs to attract women into undergraduate engineering programs to increase the pool of well-qualified, talented engineers" [1].

In Canada, as well as in the United States, a number of strategies have been used to encourage young women to consider engineering as a viable career option, among them outreach programs aimed at elementary and high school students, mentoring programs, information sessions, workshops and summer camps. To list a few examples, the University of Minnesota provides a 'Science is for Girls' summer camp for young girls interested in science, math and engineering. Queen's University hosts Science Quest, a non profit and student run organization that introduces science and engineering to pre-high school students at summer day camps. The University of Toronto's Science Outreach Program targets grade 5-10 students for its summer camp sessions. Although this program is not restricted exclusively to girls, one of the stated primary objectives is to encourage more girls to get interested in science and engineering and, depending on the demand, an 'all girls' session is organized. Girls Exploring Technology is a one-week program offered by Fanshawe college to help girls in grades 6-8 choose secondary school programs that maximize future career options [1].

While all of these strategies work, evidence shows that intense, hands-on, on-campus initiatives such as summer camps are most effective in educating and motivating young women to consider pursuing an engineering education [8].