A new report by the UCD Engineering Graduates Association (EGA) shows that only 20% of third-level engineering students in Ireland are female. The report, entitled Towards Gender Balance in Engineering, also revealed that within the engineering profession at large, women make up only around 10%.
“With a male-female ratio of 9:1, women largely remain an untapped resource in our profession,” said chartered engineer Regina Moran, Fujitsu Ireland CEO and Engineers Ireland president, at the launch of the report on Thursday, 30 October. “We must find ways of attracting more girls to join forces with us and tackle some of the world’s greatest issues. Professions such as medicine and law can’t tackle issues such as climate change and population growth – we need to stress that girls can change the world for the better through engineering.”
“This is an enormous loss to the Irish economy – especially the manufacturing sector – as pharma, food, IT and biomedical engineering products are what’s driving the export economy,” said PJ Rudden, EGA president. “At a time when our economy is starting to recover, the gender imbalance means Ireland is missing the creativity, innovation and marketing skills of female engineers. It’s no longer acceptable to consider 'the norm of 10% to 20%' as adequate in such a challenging profession that has such a critical role in the economy.”
The report presented general research into the representation of women in the engineering profession and also specific findings in relation to engineering in UCD, before making recommendations as to how address gender imbalance. It considered three different phases: pre-engineering education (primary and secondary), engineering education (third level) and profession/career.