What does an engineer look like?

August 2015

A photograph of Isis Wegner, a software engineer, was used on billboards in San Francisco advertising her company. People began posting on social media about the billboard - questioning whether she is actually an engineer because she is an attractive woman. Their reactions show us that many people have certain ideas about what engineers look like. Many of us have ideas like these from television and other places and then started to think that they were our own. Some of these false beliefs are that doctors are men and women are nurses; that university professors are men and kindergarten teachers are women; and that women can’t be both beautiful and intelligent at the same time.

In response to the false beliefs expressed on social media against Isis and the company’s advertisement, women engineers started posting photos on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram with the hashtag #ilooklikeanengineer.

What about you? Have you ever made a false assumption about someone based on how she or he looks? Has anyone made a false assumption about you based on how you look? What are some ways that you can stop the spread of unfair or prejudiced assumptions, jokes, or language?

Prevention Research Center

The mission of the (UNM) Prevention Research Center (PRC) is to address the health promotion and disease prevention needs of New Mexican communities through participatory, science-based, health promotion and disease prevention research. We fulfill this mission through collaboration, training, dissemination and evaluation activities.