New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
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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