93% Increase in women in engineering during last decade

Published:  02 October, 2020

New research shows the number of females applying for engineering courses has almost doubled in the last 10 years.

Despite engineering courses at university still receiving four times more male applications than female, the research analysing UCAS data from employment lawyers Richard Nelson LLP, found an increase of 93.51% in female undergraduate applications through UCAS for engineering courses from 2011 to 2020.

While the gender statistics for this STEM subject may look impressive, it is important to note that engineering courses still face a significant gender gap, with 119,250 male applicants in 2020 and just 29,200 female. These figures imply the industries still have a long way to go in attracting young female talent to join the ranks.

The research also demonstrates that engineering courses are continuing to attract an increasing number of talent, with the overall figures for applications increasing by a healthy level from the period of 2011 to 2020.

The full results table can be found below:

                                             Male                                     Female

Subject                                   2011       2020     Change      2011     2020     Change

Medicine and Dentistry             43,800   37,960  -13.33%     53,610   65,950   23.02%

Engineering                             103,730 119,250 14.96% 15,090 29,200 93.51%

Computer Sciences                   70,650 103,630 46.68% 11,600 21,200 82.76%

Technologies                             8,350 4,110 -50.78% 1,810 2,110 16.57%

Law                                         40,420 40,720 0.74% 67,300 92,830 37.93%

Business & Admin Studies          144,930 160,430 10.69% 131,770 128,940 -2.15%

Linguistics, Classics & related     19,150 9,260 -51.64% 48,820 35,150 -28.00%

European Langs, Lit & related     7,010 3,690 -47.36% 17,390 10,140 -41.69%

Non-European Langs, Lit & related 2,850 1,280 -55.09% 5,000 2,700 -46.00%

History & Philosophical studies     39,440 26,300 -33.32% 40,350 34,070 -15.56%

Creative Arts & Design                96,290 69,200 -28.13% 175,480 145,450 -17.11%

Education                                  14,750 9,620 -34.78% 71,810 58,590 -18.41%

Combined arts                            21,070 8,730 -58.57% 44,300 24,630 -44.40%

Jayne Harrison, employment lawyer at Richard Nelson LLP commented:

“The data demonstrates how the employment landscape has changed over the past decade. We have seen a significant rise in the number of females who are interested in studying engineering at university and it is encouraging to see the overall rise of applications for engineering courses from undergraduates during the last decade.

“However, we can see there is still work to be done in order to support the applications of females to these areas. There is a significant issue with gender roles and the place this holds in influencing the careers of our young people. For a difference to be made, we must understand that this is more than just the role of a school or parents and needs to be widespread across various stakeholders in order for real change to occur.”

Hannah Titley, director at The Golden Circle Tuition commented:

“Despite progress towards gender equality in the last 10 years, social norms around gender roles still pervade. Girls are told from a young age that they should be thoughtful, attractive, and altruistic. On the other hand, boys are expected to fulfil an outdated stereotype of being 'tough', being funny and having high-earning job prospects. These gender stereotypes and social expectations to conform influence student choices.

“We need to inform and inspire. Inform girls on what careers are available in Science and how these jobs are critical for finding solutions to global challenges - climate change, food security, healthcare. We also need to inspire girls by making these jobs attractive. This generation of young people is inspiring. Global problems are on their radar. We just need to push successful female scientists to the forefront - on social media, TV, Ted Talks, podcasts - to talk about their work, empower young people to get involved, and explain why their job matters.”

For the full results of this research, visit: https://www.richardnelsonllp.co.uk/university-applications-course-largest-gender-disparity-2020/

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