ICWES15 - Women in Engineering: Are we reinventing the Wheel? Presented by A/P

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ICWES15 - Women in Engineering: Are we reinventing the Wheel? Presented by A/P

  1. 1. MORE WOMEN IN ENGINEERING: A 21ST CENTURY CULTURAL IMPERATIVE ? A/Prof. Margaret Jollands A/Prof. Sujeeva Setunge, Prof. John Buckeridge A/Prof.Tom Molyneaux
  2. 2. BACKGROUND <ul><li>Number of female students in Engineering </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In most developed and developing cultures about 20% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>14% Australia in 2008. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Many initiatives to retain women in engineering </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Family work life balance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Paid maternity leave </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Return to work programs </li></ul></ul>RMIT University© How can we attract more female students to Engineering ? What have we missed ?
  3. 3. PREVIOUS STUDIES ON WOMEN IN ENGINEERING <ul><li>Beraud (2003) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Males and females have similar academic performance in secondary schools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>However, female students in Engineering range from 11% in Austria to 28% in Greece </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interdisciplinary subject matter is interesting to female students </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cohen and Deterding (2009) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Recruitment needs effort </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Donohoe et al. (2008) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Culture contributes to the decision </li></ul></ul>RMIT University©
  4. 4. PREVIOUS STUDIES ON WOMEN IN ENGINEERING CONT’D. <ul><li>Goodman (2002): Barriers to recruitment of female students in Engineering programs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Low self confidence in mathematics and science </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of pre-college experience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Curricula, focus and pedagogy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of female peers as role models </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gender and social issues </li></ul></ul>RMIT University©
  5. 5. SUMMARY of ISSUES <ul><li>Dominant influences on a female student’s decision to select Engineering as a career: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Job prospects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interest in mathematics and science </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Confidence in mathematics and science </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Proportion of interdisciplinary content in the Engineering program </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cultural factors, both institutional and societal </li></ul></ul>RMIT University©
  6. 6. More data RMIT University© 2008 18%     USA 2008 15%     UK Year Completions Year Peak completions Country
  7. 7. More data RMIT University© 2008 16% 2003 17% Australia 2007 19% 2003 22% Canada 2008 18%     USA 2008 15%     UK Year Completions Year Peak completions Country
  8. 8. What can we learn from studies on women in the workforce <ul><li>Three further factors emerge: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gender equality (a cultural issue) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Need for female engineers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Number of female academics </li></ul></ul>RMIT University©
  9. 9. Comparison of female students in Engineering in 4 regions <ul><li>Data sources </li></ul><ul><ul><li>RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Student enrolments in first year Civil, Environmental and Chemical Engineering programs </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Personal communication with Dr. D.Nanayakkara </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Teheran and Isfahan City, Iran </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Personal communication with Dr. Sara Moridpour </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>5 European countries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Beraud, A. 2003, A European research on women and Engineering Education (2001–2002), EJEE 28:4 pp. 435–451 </li></ul></ul></ul>RMIT University©
  10. 10. RMIT University© RMIT Melbourne Australia, % female students Comparison of female students in Engineering in 4 regions 17 29 23 Chemical Engineering 38 14 23 Environmental Engineering 10 14 12 Civil and Infrastructure Engineering 2011 2010 2009  
  11. 11. RMIT University© University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka, % female students Comparison of female students in Engineering in 4 regions 20 15 18 17 Electrical Engineering 5 4 4 5 Mechanical Engineering 19 11 16 15 Civil Engineering 2010 2009 2008 2007  
  12. 12. RMIT University© Europe in 2000, % female students (Beraud, 2003) Comparison of female students in Engineering in 4 regions   UK Austria Germany France Greece Total enrolments 53% 48% 45% 55% 57% Natural Sciences 46% 52% 35% 43% 45% Engineering 15% 11% 20% 23% 28%
  13. 13. RMIT University© Iran, % female students Comparison of female students in Engineering in 4 regions   2006 2003 Proportion of female students in the maths and physics entrance exam in Tehran 46.4% 48.1% Proportion of female Engineering students in Isfahan City 50.1% Not available
  14. 14. <ul><li>Australia: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Numerous “Women in Engineering” Programs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shortage of passionate mathematics teachers in secondary schools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Engineering not considered a top profession </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Good job prospects (80 – 100%) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>High proportion of female academics in Engineering schools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Different disciplines attract women in varying degrees </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Female student numbers around 5 - 40%, average 15% </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Europe: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Numerous “Women in Engineering” programs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Engineering considered a top profession </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Good job prospects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>High proportion of female academics in Engineering </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Female student numbers around 20% </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>Sri Lanka: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No “Women in Engineering” Programs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>High proportion of female academics in Engineering schools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Engineering considered a top profession equal with medicine </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Women not encouraged to do Engineering </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interdisciplinary content in Engineering programs is low </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Female student numbers around 15% </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Iran : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No “Women in Engineering” programs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Engineering considered a top profession </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Females view study in Engineering as a way to freedom and a career </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Significant interdisciplinary content in programs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Female student numbers around 50% </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Conclusions <ul><li>Most important elements in a recruitment campaign : </li></ul><ul><li>Creating and promoting a culture where girls are encouraged to take up Engineering </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Engineering brochures appear to be male oriented </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Increasing awareness of interdisciplinary nature of Engineering </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Environmental discipline is more popular </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Activities to enhance engagement and confidence in Mathematics and Sciences in high school </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Confidence is a key precursor for choice of engineering for girls </li></ul></ul>RMIT University©
  17. 17. Thank you RMIT University©

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