Women in engineering education in Turkey: Understanding the gendered distribution

Zengin-Arslan B.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ENGINEERING EDUCATION, vol.18, no.4, pp.400-408, 2002 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 18 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2002
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.400-408


The average percentage of female students in engineering departments in Turkey of 25% in 1998, allows its to argue that women are capable of representing themselves in this field to some extent. However, a detailed examination reveals that the distribution of female students in engineering departments is not even: they are more greatly represented in some departments than others. It can be argued therefore that women in Turkey have a reasonable opportunity of being represented in the field of engineering, which has been a male dominated area nevertheless they exist in this realm with respect to their gender roles. In other words, areas that can be described as 'masculine' engineering departments and feminine' engineering departments have been affected and the decisions of female and male students in their choices of departments have been affected by this configuration. In this article, I firstly provide the data revealing this uneven distribution of women in different engineering departments of the universities in Turkey. Then I start investigating possible causes of this gendered distribution with an emphasis on the discursively constructed 'Masculine' and of engineering departments. This assessment is an outcome of the interviews that I have conducted with 15 women engineers from February 2000 to April 2000 in Turkey. Their experiences during their educational period with institutional structures and individuals such as professors and the other students, and their discourses on 'engineering' and their own departments are emphasized.