Research shows that from 2011 to 2021 there has been a 96% increase in female undergraduate application for engineering courses. The information is based on the analysis of UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) data by employment lawyers Richard Nelson LLP
However, while the gender statistics for this ‘STEM’ subject may look impressive, engineering courses still face a significant gender gap, with 125,320 male applicants in 2021 and just 29,650 female — implying that engineering industries still have a long way to go in attracting young female talent. That said, the overall figures for applications increased ‘by a healthy level’ during the period of 2011 to 2021.
Jayne Harrison, an employment lawyer at Richard Nelson LLP said: “The data demonstrates how the employment landscape has changed over the past decade. We have seen a significant rise in the number of females who are interested in studying engineering at university and an influx of women into the workforce. It is encouraging to see the overall rise of applications for engineering courses from undergraduates during the last decade.”
Hannah Titley, Golden Circle Tuition director, said: “Despite progress towards gender equality in the last 10 years, social norms around gender roles still pervade. Girls are told from a young age that they should be thoughtful, attractive, and altruistic.
“On the other hand, boys are expected to fulfil an outdated stereotype of being ‘tough’, being funny and having high-earning job prospects. These gender stereotypes and social expectations to conform influence student choices.
“We need to inform and inspire. Inform girls on what careers are available in science and how these jobs are critical for finding solutions to global challenges — climate change, food security and healthcare, for example.
“Global problems are on their radar; we just need to push successful female scientists to the forefront — on social media, TV, Ted Talks and podcasts — to talk about their work, empower young people to get involved, and explain why their job matters.”
The full results of this research can be found at the website (www.richardnelsonllp.co.uk/university-applications-course-largest-gender-disparity-2020