Participation of women in Engineering: Challenges and productive interventions

Mahbub Sarkar, Russell Tytler, Stuart Palmer

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned Report

Abstract

Building science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills in students at all school levels is essential to building the next generation of engineering workers and engineering skills. Despite more than two decades of initiatives, the under-representation of women in engineering has been a longstanding concern in Australia. This is related to concerns about levels of participation in engineering overall, and to current concerns about attitudes to and participation in STEM subjects and career pathways generally, and for women in the natural and physical sciences and higher level mathematics at school, university and the workplace. This review analyses factors affecting the participation of women in engineering, covering the full extent of the STEM pipeline across the schooling years but focusing particularly on girls’ exposure to and engagement with engineering across those years. This review found that the barriers and opportunities relating to women’s participation in engineering occur at all points along people’s education and work pathways, from early engagement with STEM activities and interests in the early years and primary school through educational experiences in secondary school leading to subject choices, to the experiences of women in university engineering courses and then in the workplace. Each point in this trajectory presents different needs and opportunities that could form the basis of productive interventions.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherDeakin University
Number of pages45
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

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