A reader, David Brett, does my work for me and in the process makes some great points. I know that the percentage of women in my concrete design class is very high and improving every year.
Thanks again for your thought-provoking blog. Your recent post on “Women in Engineering – Ewa Bauer” with its rhetorical questions prompted me to investigate the present situation in some countries where I have worked. Blogging in between your other occupations must be time-consuming and difficult to fit into your weekly programme – so feel free to use any bits of the following sketchy information (or not) however you choose.
In civil engineering in particular the percentages of women are relatively small, while those women involved in construction activities and out-on-site are an even tinier percentage. Engineers, particularly the so-called civil variety to which we belong can be relatively Neanderthal in their behaviour and their acceptance of the fairer sex as equal colleagues, as compared to other professional groupings. So why would any woman in her right mind want to work with us? its a vicious circle and I’m not really surprised that this situation persists. In the USA you are probably more progressive and out towards the front of the curve in this matter?
Some links that I found:
http://www.femmes-ingenieurs.org/offres/file_inline_src/82/82_P_751_6.pdf (2010 – 4 pages)
http://www.femmes-ingenieurs.org/offres/file_inline_src/82/82_P_751_1.pdf (2006 – 2 pages – more succinct graphical presentation on page one)
I worked in France for 22 years, and I can’t remember working with many women civil engineers during all that time although we had plenty of CAD drafts-women in our teams. According to these statistics the number of women in engineering has been steadily rising to reach 25% of all those engineers under 30 years old which is progress. However the proportion of women in Civil Engineering was still only 6% in 2010 (or 12% in 2006).
Only 9 percent of all British engineers in all categories are women, so the Brits must also rival the Frogs and Aussies (see below) as primitive cavemen at the bottom of the table. In the distant past when I worked there, Great Britain had the additional problem that “pure” Science was more highly regarded than Engineering, and Civil Engineering was at the very bottom of the Engineering heap – so the brightest students would try for research in pure science and the less able ones who couldn’t get into any other university faculty would have chosen Civil Engineering or Structures. Has this changed, I don’t know?
Europe in general:
(too much information in here and too concentrated on the pure research fields – see executive summary pages 9 to 12) However it appears that some countries are much better than others though such as Spain, with some Scandinavian and Eastern European countries also.
I’m an early baby-boomer, born in Australia – when I studied civil engineering in Australia last century we had 2 years of shared courses with other engineers before completely separating into the civil stream. In those first 2 years you could count the number of women in our classes on the fingers of less than one hand, while in our civil engineering final years we had not one female student amongst us. Women engineers according to the 2 web pages here are still a rare and endangered species, although people appear to be aware of the fact at least, which is good.
(Barbie as an engineer – this is a fun way of presenting the topic. Their Barbie doll looks more of a computer geek than an engineer though, and her accessories are still rather too pink to be working on site? They wouldn’t stay pink for long. When I see a site engineer Barbie doll looking more like Bob the Builder, wearing a safety helmet & big clodhopper boots then I will know that there has been progress. There is also an architect Barbie doll at the link below who doesn’t quite look the part to me either:
I didn’t find any statistics, but having worked and lived here for 18 years my personal experience has been that there are very few active women civil or structural engineers. There are a few in subaltern positions in consultants’ design offices but virtually none in construction companies or on site. There is a summary of one person’s viewpoint in the abstract page of a survey thesis here:
various links in no particular order:
background.html (very scary engineers?!)
I hope that I have not “drowned” you with too much unwanted information, but maybe it can give you ideas for your blog. We could also have looked at mainland China, India and several other major countries.
I join your “Bravo” to women like Ewa Bauer who can succeed as engineers, without necessarily adopting all the same thought and behavioural patterns of their male counterparts. They are pathfinders – I welcome more such bright and capable women in our midst.
Best wishes for the blogging – keep it up,
company website: http://sites.google.com/site/constructivedevelopments/
LInkedIn page: http://hk.linkedin.com/in/davidrwbrett