On Saturday 22 October 2022 I sent two emails to an Australian tertiary educational institution regarding financial assistance and support programs that they provided to female students. Here is the first one that I sent:
I have just come across your scholarship at https://www.qut.edu.au/study/fees-and-scholarships/scholarships/women-in-engineering-scholarship
Would you please confirm that there is no corresponding Men in Engineering scholarship. Assuming that there is not, would you kindly advise why a scholarship is maintained for women as it would seem to be inconsistent with current consensus regarding gender equality. I look forward to hearing back from you in due course.”
On 24 October 2022 they duly replied:
“Dear Mr. X,
QUT strives to create an equal, equitable and diverse teaching and research environment that is fully inclusive for all people. We are not a complete community until all individuals are included and afforded opportunity, regardless of their backgrounds, characteristics, beliefs and circumstances.
The Gender Equity and Diversity in STEMM Action Plan reflects QUT’s long-term commitment to addressing the under-representation of women, trans and gender-diverse people in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine) disciplines.
Based on this action plan, women in engineering scholarship are committed to support people who identify as a woman, and increase the number of graduating female engineers, which at the moment is only 15% of all of the engineering students. This scholarship will help build a cohort of female future leaders in engineering professions.
However, there are other ongoing scholarships, that students who are not identifying as women are able to apply:
Engineering engagement team”
The second email I sent was similar, but was sent to the university’s ‘Discrimination, Diversity and Inclusion Manager’ and focused on one particular page in their website.
(Postscript: 6 January 2023, and thankfully a further response has come to hand … )
“QUT does offer a number of scholarship that are not gender specific including academic, equity and industry-funded (currently being updated for 2023) and they can be found here. QUT – Scholarships
Engineering has a long history of being a male-dominated profession. In several disciplines and areas of practice such as biomedical engineering, much progress has been made on this front. However, in other disciplines such as mechanical engineering the number hasn’t moved much in 30 or more years. I graduated in mechanical engineering in 1993 with only a few other females in my cohort of around 120. And the numbers haven’t improved significantly since then and neither has the aggregate proportion of qualified professional engineers who are female, which is still low at 13% (and the proportion of female engineers who are working in an engineering role is at 11%). (cited Jane MacMaster, FIEAust EngExec CPEng MRAeS Chief Engineer, Engineers Australia Women in engineering | Engineers Australia pp4)
With women severely unrepresented in the engineering work force QUT sets out to increase and support the number of females studying engineering by building a strong support program for students including engineering scholarships.
The scholarship program includes mentoring, flagship Engineers Australia events such as the Women in Engineering Annual Dinner, Young Engineers Australia Executive Breakfasts, GEMS student club events, National Association of Women in Construction events and Alumni panel and industry workshops.
The ongoing women in engineering program connects and showcases the opportunities for women in the engineering industry to help solve local and global challenges. It also encourages young people to consider an engineering career, join and invest in engineering and become the future of engineering.
We offer many funding and engagement opportunities to all of our Engineering students at QUT however to address the gender imbalance in the engineering industry we seek to provide a program that not only supports women but also encourages new entrants into the field of engineering.
I hope this responds to your query and if you are seeking additional research on Women in Engineering please let me know and I will send it through.
Other posts in this blog that are relevant to this subject:
Regarding the granting of gender-specific scholarships in Australia
We’ve all heard of the gender ‘income gap’, but what about the ‘expense gap’? (Scroll down to ‘education’)