Tackling Gender Bias in Engineering

By David Braham

Published on 16-02-2013

gender bias in engineering

A recent article in Engineers Australia echoed the thoughts of Angela Tatlis, chair of National Women in Operations, who believes there are enormous benefits to be gained from having a diverse workplace.

The Engineers Australia articled raised concerns about the poor representation of women in engineering.

It suggested the cause was two-fold:

  1. Bias, resulting from "long embedded societal standards"

  2. The naturally strong and "testosterone shape and feel" to engineering

It seems there is an ongoing struggle for women to gain credibility and acceptance in the fields of science and technology, with the only exception to this being environmental engineering, which is successfully attracting and holding higher numbers of women.

As specialists in the recruitment of engineering jobs, we are witness to this disparity between men and women constantly. On average, 95% of applications we receive for engineering jobs are from men, and only 5% from women.

So how can the gender bias be tackled? Does it originate at the early stages with universities encouraging females to embark on a career in engineering?

We'd love to hear your thoughts.