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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9429-9445; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909429

Improving Female Participation in Professional Engineering Geology to Bring New Perspectives to Ethics in the Geosciences

Departamento de Geología, Facultad de Ciencias, University of Salamanca, Plaza de la Merced s/n, 37008 Salamanca, Spain
Received: 15 May 2014 / Revised: 29 August 2014 / Accepted: 29 August 2014 / Published: 11 September 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender and Geoethics in the Geosciences)
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Abstract

Many papers have been published related to the retention and advancement of women in sciences. Engineering geology is one of the professional areas where women have not yet broken the gender barrier. The research issues of this paper are focused on why female students “leak out” at the end of engineering geology studies, and what can be done to encourage them to complete their degrees with an engineering career in mind. The author has studied students’ preferences of the final year project required to complete their degree at the University of Salamanca (Salamanca, Spain). It has been found that most female students are choosing a more theoretical final project instead of a practical one relevant to professional employment, contrary to their male peers. Focus group meetings with the students showed that at the end of five years of engineering geology training, many female students, unsatisfied with the content of their courses, feel that their expectations had not been met. They often have preferences for traditional geology rather than applied branches of the subject. Also, they do not feel comfortable with future job prospects in the profession. From the findings of this research it is clear that tutoring and mentoring would be valuable from the beginning of studies to allow all students to become aware of the content and the potential outcomes of engineering geology studies. In the case of female students, it is particularly important for them to know from the very start that they are about to join what is still a man’s world but that they are capable of achieving just as much as men can in the profession. Most importantly, the involvement of more female engineers in professional engineering, including teaching duties, should serve as example and role models in students’ education and future careers. View Full-Text
Keywords: engineering geology; female participation; role models/mentoring; engineering studies; final project engineering geology; female participation; role models/mentoring; engineering studies; final project
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Pereira, D. Improving Female Participation in Professional Engineering Geology to Bring New Perspectives to Ethics in the Geosciences. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11, 9429-9445.

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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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