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  5. Engineering qualifications at the OU – what motivates women to study?

Engineering qualifications at the OU – what motivates women to study?

Project leader(s): 
Carol Morris and Sally Organ

The numbers of women registering on the OU’s undergraduate engineering qualifications has remained fairly constant since the introduction of the new fee regime in 2012. Although there has been a small growth in overall numbers, women are only about 9% of the engineering student population.

There is some anecdotal evidence from conversations with women students at residential schools and the 2016 National Women in Engineering Day conference that they choose engineering qualifications as a result of working in an engineering environment, but that they do not necessarily have a job role which could be described as engineering at the start of their studies.

We wish to understand the motivations of women studying engineering qualifications as a first step in helping to increase the numbers of women on such qualifications.

We also have an action as part of our successful Athena SWAN bronze submission to investigate the intentions of women engineering students on level 1 modules in the School.

Morris, C and Organ, S (2018) Women in Engineering at the Open University: motivations and aspirations. Best poster winner at the 7th eSTEeM Annual Conference, 25-26 April 2018.