Women and engineering: a workforce development issue

Document Type

Book chapter

Publication details

Wallace, m & Sheldon, N 2014, 'Women and engineering: a workforce development issue', in R Harris & T Short (eds), Workforce Development, Springer, Singapore, pp. 113-129. ISBN: 9789814560580

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Engineers are critical to the economic innovation and productivity of nations through the production of knowledge, patents and technology as well as by driving sustainable social and economic development. However there is a growing worldwide scarcity in almost all engineering fields and, while the career is generally well-remunerated with good career prospects, there is an under-representation of women studying or working in engineering roles. This chapter discusses the role of early socialisation, schooling and university education in contributing to the low levels of girls participating in the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects needed to study engineering and the gender disparity in engineering courses as well as the leaky pipeline of qualified women in the engineering profession. The chapter also describes a range of initiatives that attempt to address these issues that have resulted in skills wastage and engineering skills shortages in most countries.