Female engineers under represented

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Tracey Ayre

By Iain MacIntyre

A Stanford University study has found that women who pursue engineering majors through the college system are less likely to remain in the field and to believe they will become professional engineers than their male counterparts.

According to researchers, women’s performance in training and tests was not at issue. But rather, they had a tendency to develop less confidence in their engineering expertise and therefore questioned if the career choice was ultimately the right one for them.

Confirming a similar situation exists in this country, IPENZ Women in Engineering programme project manager Tracey Ayre says her organisation is proactively seeking to encourage diversity in the profession and increase the recruitment and retention of female engineers.

Ms Ayre says IPENZ research suggests the main barriers to women remaining and advancing in the engineering profession are the workplace culture, long working hours and the requirement to be available when needed – which does not always work well, particularly when balancing a career and family.

IPENZ also found a lack of support from management in their organisation and a lack of networks and role models as contributing factors.

“Anecdotally it does seem women are less likely to remain in engineering roles than their male counterparts,” says Ms Ayre.

“IPENZ is working with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs to better understand if/how the career paths and experiences of women and men differ.”

For more information:

Tracey Ayre

Tel: 04 474 8949

Email: [email protected]

Visit: www.ipenz.org.nz

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