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Gender Segregation in the Occupations of Finnish Engineers

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Women in Engineering Division Technical Session 10

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Women in Engineering

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Paper Authors


Johanna Naukkarinen Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology LUT Orcid 16x16

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Johanna Naukkarinen received her M.Sc. degree in chemical engineering from Helsinki University of Technology in 2001, her D.Sc. (Tech) degree in knowledge management from Tampere University of Technology in 2015, and her professional teacher qualification from Tampere University of Applied sciences in 2013. She is currently working as a post-doctoral researcher and project manager with the School of Energy Systems at Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology LUT with main research interests related to technology and society, gender diversity and engineering education.

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Susanna Bairoh TEK (Academic Engineers and Architects in Finland)

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Susanna Bairoh received her Master of Social Science degree from University of Helsinki in 1998. She is completing her Doctoral studies at Hanken School of Business wherein her dissertation focuses on the gender gap in technology careers. She is working as Research Manager at TEK (Academic Engineers & Architects in Finland) and is responsible for leading and managing TEK’s research activities and the research team. Through her research, she aims at improving gender equality, diversity and inclusion in technology and technology workplaces.

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Sanna Putila TEK (Academic Engineers and Architects in Finland)

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Sanna Putila received her master’s degree in social sciences from University of Turku in 2009. She is currently working as a researcher at TEK (Academic Engineers & Architects in Finland) in the project Equal Career Paths for women NOW. The project focuses on gender equality in STEM fields. In her career she has also worked with recruiting and talent attraction.

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The Finnish labor market is among the most gender segregated in Europe. Women head for professions in care, whereas men opt for technology. Within different fields, the segregation shows as differences in occupations, wages, and career paths. Research has shown that the careers of women and men diverge upon labor market entry and continue to diverge along the career. Much of the divergence reflects the horizontal segregation in educational choices, but also the career paths of women and men with the same educational background differ in many respects. This vertical segregation has not been studied extensively in Finland. This paper sheds light on the vertical gender segregation in engineering by looking at the gender distribution in occupations of people with master’s and doctoral degrees in engineering and architecture. The analysis is based on national data about the population in employment in Finland in 2017. Understanding the gender differences is necessary to design effective measures to reduce the vertical segregation and promote equality in the engineering profession. In general, the percentage of women in employment in 2017 is slightly smaller than the proportion of degrees obtained by women between 2000 and 2019 regardless of the degree and the engineering discipline. Women with a master’s degree are overrepresented in clerical and educational occupations and somewhat underrepresented in leadership and management positions. Women with doctoral degrees are underrepresented among the research and development managers and directors, but the under- or overrepresentation in other occupations varies between different disciplinary groupings. Another interesting difference between the holders of master’s and doctoral degrees relates to the educational occupations, where women with a doctoral degree are slightly or heavily underrepresented. This indicates that although women often end up in teaching, the most prestige positions—such as professorships—are relatively more often occupied by men.

Naukkarinen, J., & Bairoh, S., & Putila, S. (2021, July), Gender Segregation in the Occupations of Finnish Engineers Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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