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Gender disparity in engineering - Essay Example

The proportion of female academics In engineering Is rising, but at a slow rate. In addition, women are more likely to be In Junior classifications and less likely to be tenured than their male colleagues. Female engineering academics also tend to be younger than their male counterparts. Although the proportion of the engineering academic workforce made up by women is likely to increase beyond the current rate of about 16%, it will be a long time before engineering ceases to be a male- dominated discipline.

Keynoters: Engineering, academic staff, faculty, female engineers, gender disparity INTRODUCTION The relative paucity of female involvement in engineering and technology is a moon experience in the west, particularly so in the Anglo world. For example, women represent only 11% of the engineering workforce in the US [1], 10. 5% In Canada [2] and 8. 5% In the united Kingdom [3].

The gender disparity Is less marked in some European countries, with the proportion of the engineering workforce exceeding 25% in Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania [3]. However, in addition to the low female proportion in the United Kingdom, countries such as Switzerland, Austria, Finland and Ireland also have an engineering workforce In which women make up less than 15% [3]. The ender disparity in Australia Is also emphatically malcontented with women occupying less than 10% of engineering Jobs [4].

Further, It has been reported that women who do become engineers are more likely to leave the profession Several reasons have been put forward for women and girls’ apparent avoidance of engineering, including societal beliefs and the learning environment that tends to limit female interest in science and mathematics; differences in cognitive abilities in the area of spatial skills; and blabs limiting women’s progress In the scientific and engineering fields [6]. Hill et al note that just take a hard look at the stereotypes and biases that still pervade our culture.

Encouraging more girls and women to enter these vital fields will require careful attention to the environment in our classrooms and workplaces and throughout our culture [6]. A potential problem that can arise from such a gender imbalance is having the engineering workforce drawn from only about half of the potential skilled labor force. In the context of the United Kingdom, it has been noted that … As the skills gap begins to bite, it is vital that the UK capitalists on the skills of all of its available lent.

Failure to promote careers in engineering for women will mean that we will continue to miss out on 50 per cent of the available talent, an oversight which could have serious repercussions for society and the future strength of the economy [7]. 213 The same arguments hold for Australia or any country with a gender imbalance in any workforce segment. Just as women are under-represented in the Australian engineering workforce overall, so they are in the engineering academic workforce. Although the female proportion is increasing, the distribution remains lopsided.

The male underestimations in engineering faculties should not be unexpected, because women and girls are also under-represented in the earlier sections of the pipeline. The fact that fewer girls than boys do science, mathematics and technology subjects at school, means fewer young women studying engineering programmer at university, with the consequential numerical imbalance in all sections of the engineering workforce, including in the staff rooms of universities’ engineering faculties. DATA SOURCE Australian universities are required to supply the Commonwealth education ministry tit a range of student and staff data each year.

From the unit record files supplied by each university, education ministry staff compile and publish a range of statistical summaries and aggregated data sets that can be used by researchers and others to suit their specific purposes. This article is based on analysis of aggregated data files for the period 2001 to 2009. The ministry changed the manner in which it releases statistical information during 2011, and unfortunately, the data available for 2010 and 2011 do not provide any way of separating out engineering staff from staff in there disciplines.

The specific population analyses was of university academic staff in ranks from associate lecturer to professor (Levels A to E, respectively) working in academic departments. Academics working in administration or in academic support roles were not included in this analysis. The staff members enumerated were either full-time, or fractional full-time. Fractional full-time refers to staff with on-going positions that are for less than the whole week. The tables measure full-time equivalence (FEET), not the number of people.

That is, a full-time academic has a full- mime equivalence of 1. 0, as would two half-time academics. Staff with casual (hourly paid) positions were not included in this study because the data on casual staff are not as thorough as those for full-time and fractional full-time staff. However, it is known that there has been a rapid growth in the use of casual academic staff, formally described as being in the discipline of Engineering and Related Technologies, mostly truncated to engineering in the text hereafter.

Without further information on why half of the increase in women is so focused on two institutions, one could imagine that either or both of the universities in question established a new engineering teaching unit or research centre, or perhaps corrected coding errors from the past. The annual increase in the number of female academics into the future is more likely to revert to the average of 40 or so extra women that Joined engineering faculties in the years 2001 to 2008. The growth in the number of male academics also increased more between 2008 and 2009, with greater-than- alderwoman-be-expected growth at three universities.

If the growth in the engineering academic workforce of 34. 6% seems to have been quite strong, it should be remembered that not all of the staff involved are involved in teaching; many are hired by universities not to teach, but to spend all of their time undertaking research projects. In fact, staff involved in teaching engineering increased by only 190 FEET, or 10. 8%, rather less than the growth in student numbers of around 30% [12]. The number of academic research only staff in engineering increased by 613 FEET, nearly 12].

The gender disparity in the engineering academic workforce is made even plainer by Figure 1, which shows the number of women and men (expressed as full-time equivalents) (stacked columns, left axis), and the proportion of women (line, right axis). Figure 1: Academic staff 2001-2009 (full-time equivalent) Engineering and Related Technologies by gender and proportion of women. Table 2 presents a distribution of engineering academic staff by gender and academic rank for 2001, 2005 and 2009, the proportions of total for each level, and the distribution within genders.