An exploration of some factors which inhibit females from entering engineering and science vocational areas in East Yorkshire
The following thesis examines why many engineering and physical science vocational areas remain dominated by male candidates, and whether this trend is reversible. National figures support the fact that female school students currently out perform male students in almost all academic areas. It could therefore be anticipated that female students would have the pick of university, college, and training opportunities. However, female candidates remain reluctant to enter many science and engineering vocations, despite efforts to attract them. Figures provided by the Engineering Council (1995) show current female participation at around 15%, a figure confirmed by one of Britain's largest employers with a site in East Yorkshire. As females occupy about half the places at all educational establishments, the question must be asked, why is there a great reluctance for females to enter engineering and physical science professions. If one assumes that these chosen fields of study are not chosen at random, then whatever the reason for the decision, it is likely to be made during, or even before school years. To try to find the reason for these choices, this research thesis examines the decisions made by females at various stages of their time at school. Examination of ideas, beliefs, pressures, and selections in the 9 to 16 age group have been covered. The results of a literature review were then compared to the research findings. Are females aware of the opportunities that exist, or are they aware and have decided better opportunities lie elsewhere? The research reveals some of the reasons why there appears little motivation for female students to enter engineering and physical science vocational areas. The research also generates some conclusions which may provide a framework for producing future equality in these vocational fields.