9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN14 Gender Relations in the Labour Market and the Welfare State

2009-09-05 13:30:00 2009-09-05 15:00:00 Saturday, 5 September 13:30 - 15:00 Gender and Science & Technology Careers II Building AA, Auditorio Afonso de Barros

Women in Science and Technology: How to make male dominated disciplines attractive for female students?

Within gender equality policies in Austria measures to increase girls´ or women´s interest in non-traditional occupations have a long tradition in active labour market policy or in the educational sector. In the latter the aim is to increase girls´ interest in maths and sciences in order to tackle gender specific choice of school type or field of study. In Austria, FIT "Females into Technology" is a concrete example for such measures that has been implemented in 1993 at one university and is meanwhile available all over Austria. FIT provides information, counselling and hands-on-workshops to increase girls self-confidence in their abilities and to motivate girls to study engineering or natural sciences at universities. However, the effect of such measures seams to be limited because of the moderate increase of female students in engineering or natural sciences.
In the paper we will describe the concept of FIT and discuss its limitations. To increase the share of women in engineering several levels have to be addressed simultaneously at different stages in girls´ educational career. Our analysis is based on a comprehensive evaluation of FIT including case studies at schools and qualitative interviews with girls from 15 to 19 years.