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Briefcase: Women building the future

By Stephen Lacey

A small but growing band of women are choosing engineering as a career.

According to a 2012 Engineers Australia report, female students made up only 15.8 per cent of commencements in Australian tertiary engineering programs in 2010.

University of NSW's engineering faculty wants to raise female enrolments to 25 per cent by 2020 or sooner. There are already some positive signs. In 2012, women made up about 19 per cent of UNSW's engineering student population, while in sub-disciplines such as chemical engineering and biomedical engineering women made up about 40 per cent.

Deniz Kayis starts a combined engineering-law degree in 2013. She was one of more than 40 high achievers scoring 99.9 or above to be given a $10,000-a-year UNSW Scientia Scholarship.

Kayis is carrying on a family tradition; her mother, Berman Kayis, is an associate professor in the school of manufacturing engineering.

Engineers Australia figures show 200,615 people with engineering qualifications are actively engaged with the labour market, with only 10.6 per cent of these women.

Unemployment is also higher for women engineers at 5.1 per cent, compared with 2.8 per cent of men. The average age of engineers is 41.7 years, with men older (42.3) than women


Published: 09 February 2013

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