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More women students choose engineering -- but not as a career

male-dominated environment. These include acting like one of the boys, accepting gender challenges, building a reputation and downplaying any disadvantages in favour of advantages".

"Overwhelmingly, women found that, both in the engineering classroom and workplace, their gender was, unwittingly, likely to ensure that they received more help than their male counterparts. On the negative side, this indicates that women are widely viewed in engineering as less capable than their male counterparts."

Women perceived themselves to be more employable as a result of their gender, and felt that companies were trying to recruit more females in order to improve their image.

Professor Bagilhole said: "A drive to recruit more women into the industry is commendable, but this has had the effect of making them wonder whether they have been employed for their capabilities or their gender.

"Alternatively, this has also led women to believe - possibly falsely - that engineering workplaces would be equitable for women, posing the question of whether 'getting in' is the same as 'getting on' in these industries." Women students were found to value their status as a 'novelty' in engineering, and held traditionally stereotypical views of women outside the profession.

Professor Bagilhole commented: "These attitudes may be a result of their assimilation into the industry culture, and they do little to further women's causes in engineering."


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Contact: Annika Howard
annika.howard@esrc.ac.uk
44-017-934-13119
Economic & Social Research Council
17-Jan-2007


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