The low number of women and black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) compared to their population, is well-documented in engineering, engineering technology, and other STEM fields. Through this and ancillary documentation there is agreement that increasing the numbers of women and other minorities in these areas will enhance productivity and the breadth of new innovation. Many efforts have been made to increase the number of women and BIPOC in STEM fields. The result of those efforts has been disappointing as they have resulted in minimal growth in engineering and virtual stagnation in other areas of STEM. The aviation and aerospace industries are facing significant difficulties in filling technical positions for people with STEM credentials. One may argue that current conditions create a slowdown in the demand for people in these positions; however, the current slowdown in aerospace provides time to further develop the pipeline to be ready for the expected resurgence of need in this area. To meet this demand, targeted efforts need to be designed and implemented to attract, educate, employ, and retain these highly skilled women and the BIPOC demographic. Since these groups are historically underrepresented in STEM, an added opportunity to bridge the population gap in fields such as those identified in the aerospace industry. This study aims to review the existing research on why women and BIPOC enter technical fields, the challenges they find, what makes them stay or leave, and what are some of the alternative pathways to increase the population of women and BIPOC in the aerospace industry.


© 2021 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference.


Aviation, Aerospace, Diversity, BIPOC, Workforce, Women, Female, Black, Indigenous, Persistence, Retention

Date of this Version


Published in:

Yother, T. L., Lucietto, A. M., Umberger, G., & Johnson, M. E. (2021, July). Women and BIPOC in Aerospace: Where did they come from and how did they get here?. In 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access.