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Poll results: How can the gender gap in engineering be reduced?

22/07/2019
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Last week we asked EngineeringPro readers to weigh in with their thoughts on the significant gender gap in engineering industries.

We suggested three potential solutions for resolving the gender gap problem, along with the opportunity for you to leave your own thoughts. Here are the results:

EngineeringPro readers voted on the best suggestions for reducing the gender gap in engineering industries

The leading answer among engineering professionals was directed at education, with 39% of respondents believing that the gender gap in engineering could be reduced by “Giving more prominence to engineering within the school curriculum.”

It’s already well documented that female students regularly outperform males in STEM subjects - but raising the profile of engineering as a career for women might encourage a greater number to carry those skills on into their career.

This was closely followed by the number of engineering professionals putting the burden on companies, with 28% of the vote going to “The provision of clearer career paths and support for women within major companies”.

Despite both of these, there was not much call for the use of quotas within education or major companies, with only 5.56% of the vote going to this option. It would appear that the message from EngineeringPro readers is that opportunities need to be opened up for women, without these places being forced to be filled by women.

Education, hiring practices and company incentives were all considered as options for improving the gender gap in engineering

We also asked readers to submit their own suggestions for addressing the gender gap problem, and they came through with some proactive suggestions.

Some respondents provided suggestions to eliminate biases in the hiring process:

“Blind employment go by skill level not gender.”

While others looked at amending the requirements for the role to appeal more to those with families:

“Make it a notifiable occupation (only allow professionals to use the title) and move away from consulting system requiring engineers to have extended periods away from home.”

“Offer more flexible working.”

From the comments section: “I think offering more flexible working options and the option to work remotely / from home would help a lot. I work for an Oil & Gas Company. I have a female friend who is a qualified Engineer but she chose to return to work in a Technical Assistants role after starting her family, rather than back in professional engineering role again. Simply because work / life balance is much more important to her these days than a high salary or career development. As a Tech Assistant she can finish every day at 3.30 to pick her children up from school, she never has to work late, or travel out of town to attend meetings, she never needs to go Offshore or Overseas to visit sites, she is not required to do any overtime or to be "on call" at weekends etc.” - James Brown

And on LinkedIn, commentor JC Suman had a suggestion for increasing the number of female engineering graduates: “Industry should set up full scholarships for females to join engineering with a condition that they must get a degree. Otherwise the scholarship will turn into a loan that they have to pay back.”

What do you think?

Do you agree with the views and ideas of EngineeringPro readers or do you think there are other options for reducing the gender gap in this sector that has been overlooked? Have your say in the comments section.

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Poll results: How can the gender gap in engineering be reduced? - Time to read 3 min
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