Women Research Engineers Network aims to close gender gap

The Council on Australia Latin America Relations (COALAR) team. Image courtesy of WREN.

Two researchers from the university of Wollongong’s Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences have collaborated to launch a network, aimed at increasing female participation in the engineering industry.

Dr Marcella Bernardo Papini and Dr Mainā Portella Garcia have established the Women’s Research Engineers Network, to address the gender gap and facilitate collaboration between female engineers.

The proportion of female engineers at entry level jobs within the industry starts at just 34 per cent, before falling even further to just 12 per cent for women at the most senior grade of engineering.

Dr Portella Garcia said the current rate is no longer acceptable and requires quick and effective change.

“There is research that shows men get more grants and publish more because they have more international collaboration,” Garcia said.

“Since publishing and accessing grants are closely linked to promotion, this gender gap on international collaboration could have long-term impacts on women.”

Both researchers are teaming up with the University of Sāo Paulo to promote collaboration with the University of Wollongong.

The six-month project will consist of five web seminars between the two universities, with hopes that the service can reach more than 500 women academics.

The project is supported by the Commonwealth Government through the Council on Australia Latin America Relations (COALAR), which is part of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The council was established by the federal government in 2001 to enhance Australia’s economic, political, and social relations with Latin America.



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