Over the Past Twenty Years, the National Academy of Engineering of the United States of America Undertook a Campaign Entitled, "Changing the Conversation." Explicit Intentions of the Campaign Included Raising Public Awareness of Engineering, Increasing the Total Number of Engineers, and Recruiting Historically Underrepresented Groups to Join Engineering. in Particular, Marketing Efforts Developed Inclusive "Tag Lines" Aimed to Diversify Groups Enrolled in Engineering and Increase the Diversity of the Professional Engineering Workforce. While Changes in Demographics Were Disappointing for Some Groups (I.e., Little to No Change Was Observed for People of Color), Generally, the Campaign Has Been Considered Moderately Successful for Increasing the Number of Females Joining Engineering. This is Speculated to Be Associated with the Use of Tag Lines that Helped to "Humanize Engineering" (I.e., Emphasizing the "People Helping" Aspects of Engineering Rather Than the "Building Things" Aspects of Engineering). the Use of Marketing Identified to Attract More Females to Engineering May Have Inadvertently Introduced the "Care Penalty" into Engineering. the Care Penalty Refers to the Lack of Financial Compensation for Work Performed by Those Who Choose Employment in a "Caring Profession", Which is Independent of the Sex, Gender, or Gender Expression of the Employee. for Example, "Caring Nurses" Receive the Same Pay as "Uncaring Nurses" in a Hospital Setting, Yet Patients Who Have Caring Nurses Report Higher Levels of Satisfaction with the Hospital. Unpriced Benefits (I.e., "Caring"), Which Are Poorly Rewarded in Employee Pay, Represent an Example of the Care Penalty. It Has Been Observed that Caring Professions Often Include a Larger Proportion of Female Employees (I.e., Skilled Nurses, Elementary School Educators, and Social Workers). Therefore, the Use of Tag Lines Specifically Selected to Attract a Larger Number of Females to Joining Engineering (I.e., Tag Lines Emphasizing the "Caring Nature of Engineering"), May Attract Both More Females (Independent of Compensation) as Well as More Individuals Who Are Willing to Accept Lower Financial Compensation (I.e., Individuals Willing to Accept the Care Penalty). using a Literature Review, the Presence of a Care Penalty in Engineering is Described, and an Argument is Advanced that the "Changing the Conversation" Campaign May Have Been a Contributing Factor. in Conclusion, It is Important to Raise Awareness of the Care Penalty and to Identify Ways to Financially Compensate Workers Who Provide Substantial Unpriced Services Such as "Caring on the Job". the Future of Engineering Includes STEMpathy, which is the Explicit Integration of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math with Empathy (I.e., Human-Centered Design, Community-Engaged Design, Etc.). Therefore, the "Solution" to the Care Penalty is Not the Exclusion of Caring from Engineering. Rather the Solution Must Include the Innovation of Properly Pricing and Incorporating "Caring" as a "Quality Factor" of Engineering Work. This Solution Should Include Compensation with an Appropriate Financial Wage (Or Alternative Employment Benefit for Caring Service Provided).
D. B. Oerther, "Did the NAE Changing the Conversation Campaign Introduce the Care Penalty into Engineering?," ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings, American Society for Engineering Education, Jun 2023.
The definitive version is available at https://doi.org/peer.asee.org/43171
Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
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25 Jun 2023