NZ's female engineers suffer less sexism than Aussies

Despite being outnumbered by their male colleagues by ten to one, New Zealand’s female engineers report less gender discrimination than their Aussie contemporaries.

The Institution of Professional Engineers of New Zealand (IPENZ) recently completed its ‘2008 Women in Engineering Survey’, in which of the 6,000 members surveyed only 12% of the women cited gender discrimination in the work place.

This is a much lower number than 42 % of Australian women professional engineers who feel their gender has been used against them in their job.

IPENZ Director of Policy Tim Davin is happy with what he sees as a positive result.

“For a very male dominated industry, New Zealand has quite a low level of gender discrimination, which is great news for the profession as we need more women entering engineering, it’s a great career and it benefits from more women in the work place.”

He says those who reported discrimination said the problems mainly came from older colleagues who didn’t take them seriously.

The IPENZ survey revealed most female engineers in New Zealand are young with 73% aged between 25 and 40 years of age and more than one third were employed in civil engineering.

IPENZ reported its ‘2008 Women in Engineering’ survey results to the World Engineering Convention in Brazil last December and will provide updated results at the International Conference of Women Engineers and Scientists in Adelaide in 2011.

“Even though New Zealand female engineers are relatively satisfied with their working environments especially when compared to our Australian colleagues, IPENZ is committed taking steps to ensure the engineering profession is a flexible and supportive workplace for women in order to retain women, advance their careers and encourage more women to enter the profession,” says Mr Davin.

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