CHICAGO, Oct. 16, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Minneapolis will set the stage this week for the largest conference and career fair for women engineers. The Society of Women Engineers’ WE18 will attract more than 12,000 women engineers to the Minneapolis Convention Center Oct. 18-20, 2018. Only 13 percent of employed engineers are women; WE18 provides a platform for this minority demographic to gather with like-minded peers, share innovative ideas, make connections for career advancement, and ultimately make strides in getting more women in engineering and closing the gender gap in STEM.

“WE18 exists to ensure that women engineers, who often don’t have many female peers in the workplace or classroom, have access to the resources they need to advance in the profession,” said Penny Wirsing, president of SWE and environmental engineer at Torrance Refining Company. “Females and other minorities in engineering find influence in peers and mentors. At WE18, thousands of women will have the opportunity to make connections with each other, discuss struggles and solutions and find new ways to support one another for the overall advancement of women in engineering and STEM.”

At WE18, during the State of Women in Engineering, SWE will release its latest research study, an effort in partnership with the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law to conduct a study of Indian engineers’ experiences with bias in the workplace. Approximately 700 male and female engineers participated, reporting on their workplace climates. The results of the study suggest that both men and women engineers in India experience high levels of bias, with women more likely to face gender bias and men more likely to face bias based on the region in India that they are from.

WE18 will feature more than 300 educational sessions and over 350 career fair exhibitors looking to recruit female engineers at all career stages. Professionals and collegiates will have the opportunity to participate in onsite interviews with recruiters and network with organizations and people to help further their careers. Leading universities will also be available for attendees interested in exploring graduate-school opportunities.

In Minneapolis, SWE will also highlight its engineering outreach program, Invent it. Build it, an event designed to give girls a hands-on engineering experience. Invent it. Build it. will take place Saturday, October 20, 2018 at the Minneapolis Convention Center, aiming to encourage girls in grades 6-12 to pursue a career in engineering and technology, with SWE members serving as role models. The program is divided into three parts: the Middle School Girls program, the High School Girls program and the PEP, or Parent/Educator program. Programs like Invent it. Build it. are crucial in engaging girls to have confidence in their STEM abilities. Nearly two out of three girls who have participated in Invent It. Build It. say the program has strengthened their confidence in engineering-related skills. The event is part of SWENext, SWE’s free membership program for girls in grades K-12 that provides resources including scholarships, mentors, competitions, camps and more.

On Friday, Oct. 19, panelists will provide a review of research at The State of Women in Engineering session. Among the research discussed will be a report by The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine that finds that sexual harassment is prevalent in academia, as well as a new research report by SWE on gender bias amongst Indian engineers. The session will be live streamed at 3:00 p.m. on we18.swe.org.

For more information about WE18 and to register, visit we18.swe.org. For media inquiries and to request a complimentary media registration, contact Jennifer Balogh at (630) 305-0003 x303, or jbalogh@davidjamesgrop.com.

For more information about the Society of Women Engineers, visit swe.org.

About SWE
The Society of Women Engineers (SWE), founded in 1950, is the world’s largest advocate and catalyst for change for women in engineering and technology. The not-for-profit educational and service organization is the driving force that establishes engineering as a highly desirable career aspiration for women. To ensure SWE members reach their full potential as engineers and leaders, the Society offers unique opportunities to network, provides professional development, shapes public policy and provides recognition for the life-changing contributions and achievements of women engineers. As a champion of diversity, SWE empowers women to succeed and advance in their personal and professional lives. For more information about the Society, please visit www.swe.org or call 312.596.5223.

Media Contact: Jenny Balogh, David James Group, (630) 305-0003 x303,