Canadian Consulting Engineer

Is gender imbalance in engineering really a problem?

April 19, 2016

Editorial in Maclean's presents surprising and unusual position

An editorial in Maclean’s magazine (April 15 edition) entitled “Men Don’t Matter” says young men under the age of 35 are treated with ambivalence and sometimes hostility by society. While the article deals mainly with the hidden discrimination against young men that occurs in areas such as the handling of refugee claimants and even in the federal inquiry into indigenous homicide rates, it concludes with a discussion of the gender imbalance in university science, engineering and technology programs:

The argument presented is surprising and unusual:

“Certainly any systemic issues preventing girls from studying math-intensive subjects ought to be eliminated, but obsessive focus on male-to-female ratios in computing and engineering overlooks a broader gender imbalance afflicting the entirety of Canadian campuses. Women now make up 58 per cent of all university graduates. They constitute a significant majority in nearly every degree program other than math, computers and engineering. Across Canada, 75 per cent of all education and health degrees are earned by women. … At the University of Waterloo — centre of so much concern over gender ratios — 72 per cent of degrees granted by its optometry school are to women. With the importance of higher education universally recognized as being crucial to success in a modern, global economy, where’s the concern over the disappearance of young men on campus?

“Short answer: no one cares. They’re just young men.”

To read the full editorial dated April 15, 2016 in Maclean’s online version, click here.


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