The real reasons women aren’t choosing engineering

Reasons women aren’t choosing engineering

Have you ever wondered why there’s not more women in engineering?

Even though women make up almost 48% of the Australian workforce, only 13% of them are working as engineers! If you’re scratching your head about this, the reasons why women aren’t choosing engineering have been revealed in a huge research report by Engineers Australia.

TL;DR? The main reason is lack of understanding about what engineering is and what it involves.

Other barriers include:

  • The fact that engineering is seen as male dominated, challenging and not impactful or fulfilling
  • Girls not feeling supported to do well in STEM at school
  • University students feel less supported to do well in their studies, compared to other degrees
  • Issues for women in the workplace around culture and unequal opportunities

So what can be done about this?

Things that we can all get working on now, according to Engineers Australia, are:

  • Short and sharp initiatives – like school talks around career choices and the motivators behind them
  • Giving additional support to engineering students at university through things like mentoring and internships
  • Combatting non-inclusive culture in engineering workplaces through gender-bias training
  • Empowering women in engineering to progress in their careers and work through challenges – this can be aided by female-focused mentoring and networking, as well as career progression structures that help lessen gender barriers

We’re here to help too

At Careers with STEM, we love talking about all the positives of studying and working in engineering (plus science, tech and maths) because STEM skills are critical to future jobs. Every day we publish fresh content around these areas, as well as how to combine them with your passion, a hobby or an interest so you can build your dream job. We call this STEM + X and it’s such an awesome way to look at engineering (and other STEM) careers, especially if you’re hesitant or don’t know much about them yet.

We also really believe in the power of role models. If you can see it you can be it, right? We’re proud to have profiled hundreds of women in STEM, including engineering, and you can find their incredible stories here. These women have paved the way and share advice on everything from what they studied to how they’re navigating the STEM workplace.

You can also learn more about five amazing women in engineering in the video below.

Arming yourself with ALL the knowledge is also really important! If you think engineering sounds interesting or lines up well with your passions or interests, read everything you can about it. On our Careers with Engineering hub, you can find stories like:

Prefer video? The one below will quickly get you across the basics of engineering.

We’ve created engineering Job Kits too. These free downloadable eight-page e-mags offer a complete introduction to individual engineering careers. Discover what a specific engineering job is all about, meet real people working in that job and find out what you can do right now to set your career on the right path.

And, of course, every year we dedicate a whole issue of our magazine to the ‘E’ in STEM. Here’s our latest one to flick through. Keep your eyes peeled for the Careers with STEM: Engineering 2022 issue coming your way in late July.

Louise Meers

Author: Louise Meers

Louise is Careers with STEM’s digital content strategist. She has a journalism degree from the University of Technology, Sydney and has spent over a decade writing for youth. She is passionate about inspiring young people to achieve their biggest goals and build a better future.


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