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Engineering, a Course of Men: The Inversion of That Trend

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

International Division Technical Session 6

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Luis Alfredo Martins Amaral University of Minho - ALGORITMI Orcid 16x16

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Born in 1960 is Associate Professor at Department of Information Systems in the School of Engineering of University of Minho.

Researches and teaches in the areas of Information Systems Planning, Information Systems Management and the Information Society, especially in the field of Public Administration.

Chairman of the Board of the GCC - Computer Graphics Center since 2005. Pró-Rector of University of Minho between 2006 and 2009. President of the National College of Informatics (Order of Engineers) since 2010.

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Rosa Maria Castro Fernandes Vasconcelos Universidade de Minho Orcid 16x16

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Rosa Maria de Castro Fernandes Vasconcelos is a Associate Professor at the Department of Textile Engineering since 2005. Degree in Textile Engineering by the University of Minho. Professor at the University of Minho since 1984. PhD in Engineering –Technology and Textile Chemistry by the University of Minho in 1993. Rieter Award, 1993.

Responsible for several curricular units in the integrated study cycles in Textitle Engineering and Engineering and Industrial Management, in the 1st cycle course of Design and Fashion Marketing, and also in the 2nd cycle courses of Fashion Design and Communication, Textile Chemistry, Advanced Textiles and Design and Marketing.

Head research and research member of several R&D projects, has presented as main author or co-author many dozens of scientific journal papers and communications in international conferences.

President of the Pedagogical Council of the School of Engineering since 2011 and Vice-Dean of School of Engineering

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Magda Oliveira Pinheiro University of Minho

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Magda Pinheiro is graduated in Portuguese (teaching), with specialization in Inclusive Learning Techniques with postgraduate education in the field of specialization in Assessment. Forming the School of Engineering, University of Minho and external forming the Technological Centre for the Textile and Clothing Industries of Portugal (CITEVE) in Vimaranes Form, Lda., MRS Business, the Association of Former Students of the University of Minho in AFTEBI (Association for Technological and Vocational Training of Beira Interior) and the Ministry of Health.
Throughout his professional experience has been working the areas of expertise of academic writing, public presentations, new orthographic agreement, teamwork, transition to the labor market and gender equality. For their work experience, as well as additional training, he became expert in Personal Marketing.

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Traditionally, engineering courses are more pursued by men than by women, although, also traditionally, there are exceptions, like for example Biological Engineering courses. In recent years Higher Education in Portugal has faced profound changes, namely concerning the number of students, the enlargement of the educational network and the curricular structure of courses. It is known that the enlargement of the general number of students was also accompanied by an increase in the number of women attending Portuguese Higher Education Institutions. This paper aims to analyse if these changes have also changed the choice of women/men in engineering courses. Therefore, preferences and admissions from the last five years in fifteen engineering courses of a Portuguese University were analysed. This analysis aims to understand if there are courses that tend to be more chosen by women as well as the incidence of the Demand Satisfaction Index (here ISP) in their choices. The Demand Satisfaction Index (ISP) is the ratio between the number of candidates in the 1st option and the number of existing vacancies per pair institution/ course in the 1st phase of the national competition for higher education access. For the academic years 2010/2011 to 2014/2015 we analysed, for each course, the number of candidates and the number of students placed (by gender), the application option and the average grades of the placed candidates. This analysis showed that the percentage of women has increased in both: in the number of candidates and in the number of placements. The number of women candidates increased 4.7% in the general number of candidates of engineering courses and 3.4% in the number of women placed among the total number of placements, in the same period. This convergence of the number of students of both genders contradicts the historical data, so it is important to understand its reasons. Therefore, each one of the courses was analysed independently and we verify that in courses, where the demand was already mainly female, that demand was further strengthened by women. In courses which have traditionally more male attendance, the percentage of women has been continuously approaching that of men. In conclusion, the conjunction of the growing attractiveness of engineering courses (what makes the admission more competitive) and the fact that, in general, women present better access grades to higher education is argued as an explanation of this evolution.

Amaral, L. A. M., & Vasconcelos, R. M. C. F., & Pinheiro, M. O. (2016, June), Engineering, a Course of Men: The Inversion of That Trend Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26680

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