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Women In Engineering Education In Turkey

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Engineers & Engineering Education in Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, and Turkey

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1427.1 - 9.1427.12



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Paper Authors

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Lerzan Özkale

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Fatma Küskü

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Gülsün Saglamer

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session: International

Women in Engineering Education in Turkey


Istanbul Technical University


The enrolment of women in engineering education is much lower than that of men in the whole world [1, 2, 3]. The socio-economic status influences positively the tendency to follow and complete more scientific courses [4]. Although women enrolment in engineering is also expected to be positively correlated to the development level of the country, this is not generally verified. Turkey is one of the countries where the enrolment of women in engineering education (22.7%) is higher than in most of the developed countries [5, 6, 7]. There are several reasons to that: engineering profession is still an attractive one in terms of social status; engineers are employed in a large spectrum and not only in their own field; top management positions are generally occupied by engineers. This is why boys as well as girls continue to prefer engineering departments to other fields of study. This explains why the enrolment rate in engineering in Turkey is not decreasing, as it is the case in most of the developed western countries. Yet the enrolment of women in engineering education is almost half of the overall women enrolment in higher education in Turkey which is 42.6%.

Kennedy and Parks [8] stated that the reasons of low female participation in engineering education are the existence of traditional barriers to women being equally represented in the physical sciences compared to their fraction of the total population. This statement is also valid for Turkey in addition to the other factors influencing women enrolment in engineering education.

The role of women in the Turkish society began changing rapidly with the proclamation of the Republic in 1923. This new period abolished the barriers applied to women, permitting them to participate in the labor force as an equal partner. This is the basic characteristic distinguishing Turkey from the rest of the Islamic countries. Turkish women obtained the right to vote in 1934, before some other European countries. The uniformisation of the education system contributed principally to the changing role of the women in the society. The first two women engineers in Turkey Melek Erbuğ and Sabiha Ecebilgen were the symbol of this change. They were graduated from the Engineering School in 1933 (Yüksek Mühendislik Mektebi which is actually Istanbul Technical University-ITU). Up to 1950, a few women engineer per year were graduated from ITU. In total 23 women were graduated at that period. Then the numbers of women graduated from ITU begin increasing, attaining 35 in 1960, 60 in 1971 and 104 in 1978 that are the first

“Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering"

Özkale, L., & Küskü, F., & Saglamer, G. (2004, June), Women In Engineering Education In Turkey Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13113

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