Lack of female mentors. According to the National Science Foundation, women make up only 5.2% of tenured engineering faculty. Students felt that they had no one to turn to for help and guidance. One student said she felt disadvantaged "when it comes to being an engineer without being like a man." Another commented, "Engineering professors make terrible mentors; they can't mentor unless it's about discussing an equation."
From this story by Vivek Wadhwa in Business Week [via Uma]. The story leads with "Women should be mentored not only to be engineers, but to become entrepreneurs in the field. And such encouragement has to start early."
A recent study found that "women more than men need role models who are the same gender as they are". Here's a post (on the excellent "Research Digest Blog" of the British Psychological Society) that reports on the study.