Jack Strong is seated between Tom Evans and Judy Hanson at a dinner meeting of a local
industrial engineering society. Jack and Judy have an extended discussion of a variety of
concerns, many of which are related to their common engineering interest. At the
conclusion of the dinner, Jack turns to Tom, smiles and says, "Im sorry not
have talked with you more tonight, Tom, but Judys better looking than you."
Judy is taken aback by Jacks comment. A recent graduate from a school in which
more than 20 percent of her classmates were women, she been led to believe that finally
the stereotypical view that women are not as well suited for engineering as men was
finally going away. However, matters quickly changed on her first job. She found that she
was the only woman engineer in her division. Now, even after nearly a year on the job, she
has to struggle to get others to take her ideas seriously. She wants to be recognized
first and foremost as a good engineer. So, she had enjoyed "talking shop" with
Jack. But she was stunned by his remark to Tom, however innocently it might have been
intended. Suddenly she saw the conversation in a very different light. Once again she
sensed that she was not being taken seriously enough as an engineer.
How should Judy respond to Jacks remark? Should she say anything? Assuming Tom
understands her perspective, what, if anything, should Tom say or do? Do Tom and other
male engineers have special responsibilities to help women engineers feel they are as well
qualified as men for engineering?