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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    University colleges aim to increase gender equality

    The College of Engineering is working to reverse gender inequalities in a field that is historically male-dominated.

    According to the 2006-07 University of Arizona Fact Book, only 19 percent of the students in the College of Engineering are women, with 2,019 men and 475 women enrolled.

    To combat the problem, the Women in Science and Engineering, or WISE, program, in collaboration with the Woman’s Studies Department, aims to create a diverse work force in science and engineering, said Kathy Powell, WISE program coordinator.

    WISE works with young women in middle and high schools to have them consider careers in science and engineering, and tries to keep women in UA’s programs, she said.

    WISE also offers workshops and networking opportunities to help women succeed in their careers.

    “”Recruitment and retention are the two main facets of our program,”” Powell said. “”There are still some challenges, but I think we are doing better then we have been in the past. I think we’re heading in a really good direction.””

    Gender inequality is common in other university colleges as well, including the College of Education (22 percent male enrollment), Eller College of Management (39 percent female enrollment) and the College of Nursing (12 percent male enrollment), according to the Fact Book.

    “”Student diversity continues to be a top priority for the College of Nursing,”” Vickie Radoye, assistant dean for student affairs at the College of Nursing, wrote in an e-mail.ÿ””Males in nursing are considered a minority group.””

    Men account for onlyÿ9.9 percent of nursing students seeking bachelor of science degrees, 8.9 percent pursuing masters of science degrees and 7.4 percent in doctoral programs, according to a 2006 American Association of Colleges of Nursing enrollment and graduation report.

    Meanwhile, males are graduating from the College of Nursing in rates that exceed national averages, Radoye wrote.

    During the past academic year, 10.6 percent of bachelor of science graduates were male, along with 30.8 percent of masters of science graduates and 14.9 percent of doctoral graduates,she wrote.

    “”I am proud to sayÿthe graduation rate of males in the College of Nursing is substantially higher than the national rate at all degree levels,”” Radoye wrote.

    Men made up an average of 22 percent of students yearly from 2003-2007 in the Accelerated BSN Partnership Program for College Graduates, a major draw for men seeking to begin a career in nursing after having already achieved a baccalaureate degree in another field, Radoye wrote.

    It is a 14-month, tuition-free program exclusive to the UA, made possible by funding from the Carondelet Health Network, University Medical Center, Tucson Medical Center and Northwest Medical Center.

    “”We do really well at attracting and maintaining males at the graduate level,”” Radoye wrote. “”I’m very pleased with the number of men that have come into the program, and we hope to increase it at the undergraduate level.””

    Men currently in the program, as well as student organizations, are helping to encourage other men to join the undergraduate program, she added.

    While men made up the majority of UA medical students in the past, their numbers slipped behind those of women.

    About 52 percent of students in the College of Medicine were women in fall 2006, according to the Fact Book.

    The college has leveled out to about an equal number of male and female students over the last 15 years, said Linda Don, director of the college’s office of outreach and multicultural affairs.

    “”Women have continued to see the opportunities in medicine,”” she said.

    Don pointed out that women are relatively rare higher in the ranks of the medical profession, adding that she thinks the trend is generational.

    To reverse it, more gender-equality education and outreach should start at an early age, she said.

    “”There is a good amount of attention that we pay toward leadership development for women,”” Don said. “”I think it really is a societal perception. There are just gender biases toward certain professions, like men in nursing.””

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