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October 7, 2019 | by  | in News |
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The Stats on Gender Disparities at VUW


Data released to Salient under the Official Information Act shows that the gender disparity in most majors at Victoria University has stayed constant over the last five years. 


As reported earlier this year by Salient, the School of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS) is particularly targeted for under-representation of women. Over the past five years, the percentage of female students has stayed about the same, only rising from 14% in 2015 to 17% in 2019. These enrolment rates are similar to other engineering departments across the country, according to VUW. 


Stuart Marshall, Head of ECS, told Salient that “[ECS] is committed to making Engineering and Computer Science more accessible for under-represented groups, and to help those students succeed once they are studying with us.”


ECS has implemented a number of policies, including outreach in high schools, working with VUW Women in Tech, and creating more tutor positions to nurture equity. 


Other major programmes are female-dominated, particularly in the Humanities. Early Childhood had no males enrolled in 2015 and 2017. In terms of sheer numbers, Criminology had at least 400 more females taking the major than males for every year between 2015–2019.


Provost Professor Wendy Larner said in a statement that the university has an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Framework developed with student impact. This includes an ‘action plan’ for improving representation. 


“This will allow us to track participation, retention, and completion (at undergraduate and postgraduate level) by target groups, and will give rise to new initiatives that allow us to address both gender disparities and issues of gender equity,” Larner said. 


“One of our priority issues is to support students studying in disciplines where there are significant gender disparities or where there are issues of gender equity,” she added.  This year, the university also employed a Rainbow and Inclusion Adviser to assist gender-diverse students. 


The university did not indicate whether there are programmes for inclusion and support of males in female-skewed majors. 


Many major programmes, including Film; Architecture; and Business Administration are relatively balanced between genders. 


Overall, the university has more females enrolled than males, with 1.3 times as many females enrolled than males in 2019, and fewer than 100 gender-diverse people. 


Note: The data supplied by VUW in the OIA refers to “females” and “males”, rather than men and women. Gender minorities were included in that data. However, given the small number of these individuals at the university, we have not included that data in this article.


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