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National Academies Report Says Sexual Harassment Is a Threat to Engineering

It’s not just individuals who suffer when gender-based abuse goes unaddressed

4 min read
Illustration: Nicole Xu
Illustration: Nicole Xu

The engineering community has been working for decades to increase the representation of women in universities and in the profession, but progress has been slow. In the United States, just 21 percent of engineering bachelor’s degrees go to women, and only 11 percent of practicing engineers are women. While the problem is complex, we must recognize that one significant factor is sexual harassment, which creates hostile education and work environments and pushes women out of the field.

Authoritative studies have documented that from 20 to 50 percent of women students experience sexual harassment in higher education. Sexual harassment encompasses more than the shocking physical assaults that have made headlines in recent years; it also includes a wide range of offensive, crude, and sexist behaviors that demean women. Through these behaviors, harassers communicate that women do not belong and do not merit respect. This “gender harassment” is by far the most common type of sexual harassment.

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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

His pivot from defense helped a tiny tuning-fork prevent SUV rollovers and plane crashes

11 min read
Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

In 1992, Asad M. Madni sat at the helm of BEI Sensors and Controls, overseeing a product line that included a variety of sensor and inertial-navigation devices, but its customers were less varied—mainly, the aerospace and defense electronics industries.

And he had a problem.

The Cold War had ended, crashing the U.S. defense industry. And business wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. BEI needed to identify and capture new customers—and quickly.

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