The Legacy and Future of Women in Engineering

The National Science Foundation funds research and education in most fields of science and engineering.

The NSF receives approximately 40,000 proposals each year for research, education and training projects, of which approximately 11,000 are funded.

Our grants can directly support the advancement of women in engineering fields, but first scroll down to take a look at what diversity is really like in the engineering fields.

Ada Lovelace created the first algorithm intended for a computational machine.

In the US today, 50% of people aged 18-24 are women.

Although 50% of college age Americans are female, only 21% of undergraduates in engineering programs are female.

Hedy Lamarr invented a frequency hopping technique that made radio-controlled weapons more difficult to jam.

When it comes to graduate studies in engineering, things start looking up.

25% of graduates in engineering fields are female.

Annie Easley was a computer scientist, mathematician, and rocket scientist. She was one of the first African-Americans to work as a computer scientist at NASA.

And of those 25%, there is pretty good racial diversity.

Grace Hopper popularized the notion of machine-independent programming languages. Not to mention also being a US Navy rear admiral.

In the software development and engineering research workplaces, however, those odds do not extend.

Betty Holberton invented breakpoints for debugging computer programs while working on the revolutionary ENIAC digital computer.

There is good news, though.

Thanks in part to funding from the NSF, more women have been entering postdoctoral fellowships over the last decade.

Let's keep up the good work and continue to open opportunities for women to confidently enter science and engineering fields.