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TitleEngineering, a course of men: the inversion of that trend
Author(s)Amaral, Luís
Vasconcelos, Rosa
Pinheiro, Magda Alexandra Oliveira
Higher Education
Issue dateJun-2016
PublisherAmerican Society for Engineering Education
Abstract(s)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 as far as the number of students, the enlargement of the educational network and the curricular structure of courses are concerned. It is known that the rise in 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 analyze whether 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 analyzed. This analysis aims at understanding if there are courses that tend to be more chosen by women, as well as the incidence of the Demand Satisfaction Index (here DSI) in their choices. The DSI is the ratio between the number of applicants 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 analyzed, for each course, the number of applicants and the number of students placed (by gender), the application option and the average grades of the admitted applicants. This analysis showed that the percentage of women has increased in both: in the number of applicants and in the number of admissions. The number of female applicants increased 4.7% in the general number of applicants for engineering courses and 3.4% in the number of female admitted students, among the total number of admissions, 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 analyzed 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 (which makes the admission more competitive) and the fact that, in general, women present better access grades to higher education is claimed as an explanation for this evolution.
TypeConference paper
DescriptionApresentado em "ASEE’s 123rd Annual Conference & Exposition - New Orleans, LA - June 26 - 9, 2016"
AccessOpen access
Appears in Collections:DET/2C2T - Comunicações em congressos internacionais com arbitragem científica

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