One of the most stupid taxpayer-funded initiatives we know of in the education sector is the initiative to drive up the proportion of engineering students who are women. For decades long-suffering taxpayers have financed initiatives designed to drive up the proportion of women in STEM subjects, and in the case of engineering the results have been woeful. Even today, women take up fewer than 10% of university places on engineering courses. This is in stark contrast to medicine, where 70% of students today are women. The small proportion of men studying medicine is not, of course, seen as a problem to be fixed by government initiatives. The reasons women are drawn to medicine rather than engineering are perfectly well understood, yet ignored. They include:
– women’s preference for people-centred work
– choice of specialism (women are inclined to become GPs rather than work in A&E, for example)
– appreciation from patients
– high status
– high job security
– high pay (the average GP earns about £110,000 p.a.)
– work is close to home
– pleasant working environment
– flexible working hours
It’s known that a lower proportion of female graduates than male graduates take up careers in engineering, and if they do enter the profession, they’re more likely to leave it at some point. Few female engineers return to the profession after having children. So the taxpayer is funding initiatives to train women who will (on average) make a poorer use of taxpayers’ investment. We don’t have figures on engineers, but it’s known the average female doctor will work half the hours over a career compared with the average male doctor – which, along with the specialisms chosen by female doctors, are prime causes of many of the crises facing the NHS. We’d expect the hours worked over their careers by female engineering graduates to be well under half those of their male colleagues.
The state’s response to few women wishing to study engineering is predictable, it’s spending yet more money trying to push water uphill with a stick. The state is going to bribe women with taxpayers’ money to do a course they presumably wouldn’t otherwise do. Let’s remind ourselves who’s paying for this initiative. 72% of the incomes tax collected in the UK is paid by men, and only 28% by women.
Brunel University has been advertising a Women in Engineering programme. The ‘overview’ on the website:
The Women in Engineering programme at Brunel University aims to support female graduates attain their full potential in the engineering profession. The programme consists of personal professional development training, visits to industry and a mentoring scheme, which will provide opportunity for contact between students and senior women and men in the sector where you wish to develop your career. This programme aims to help you promote yourself as an engineer, have a better understanding of the career paths and opportunities available to you, and develop a network of key contacts to help you rise to the top of your profession.
For the academic year starting in September 2014, the Women in Engineering programme at Brunel University has 40 scholarships for Home/EU applicants, covering both the MSc course fees of £7,750 and a living allowance of £15,000.
These MSc courses are of one year’s duration. Each female student will receive £22,750 that her male colleagues won’t. The total cost to the taxpayer of this insane programme could be as high as £910,000. The lunatics truly have taken over the asylum.
As we learned from our FoI request some months ago, there’s only one way for male students to be eligible for these scholarships. They have to have had gender reassignment surgery, or be in the process of ‘transitioning’.