Women engineers: figures are growing, but much remains to be done with the gender pay gap

This is the 9th edition of the day of celebration, but it also wants to be a reason for reflection. Although enrollment in STEM faculties is increasing, the difference between the salaries of women and men, with the same experience and qualifications, remains a specific problem.

Imagine the future: this is the focus of the 2022 edition of the International Day of women in engineering dedicated, in particular, to inventors and innovators. Data collected last year showed that worldwide 16.5% of engineers were women.

And how is the situation in Italy? In 2019, 28.1% of women with an engineering degree were well above the European average of 25%.

STEM to design the future

These acronyms, STEM, include the subjects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, those, to be clear, that in the past have been promoted more among boys than among girls.

In 2021, enrollment increased for women in these study cycles, but according to an Ipsos survey for Save the Children, many young people still feel that these subjects are inadequate even though they are intrigued. Twenty years ago, engineers were 16% of graduates, in 2019 30.8%. The presence of women among graduates in mechanical, electrical and automation engineering is still low, we are talking about 14%.

The gender pay for an engineer

It is easy to wonder how much an engineer earns in our country. Maybe we should add if male or female. For a five-year graduate in Industrial Engineering, the average monthly income is 1,700 euros compared to 1,850 euros for men. In civil engineering, a woman earns about 1,400 euros a month compared to 1,644 euros for men.

© CPI Observatories

The joint surveys of the Talents Venture Observatory and Assolombarda indicate that one year after graduating from STEM subjects, the employment rate for men is 91.8%, for women 89%. A gap that widens five years after graduation: 91% compared to 84%, with an economic disparity of about 300 euros per month obviously to the detriment of women.

The first engineer in Italy

There are several women with a degree in engineering who have each made history in their own way. Certainly, some more than others have challenged an even more male-dominated society than the current one by choosing a college like this, just think that universities have only been open to women since 1874.

Emma Strada was the first woman in Italy to graduate with honors in 1908 from the Turin Polytechnic, third of 62 male students, before a committee that did not know whether to define her as an engineer or engineer as it was later decided. Her father and brother were engineers and for her the choice of this studio was a natural thing. Many works followed throughout the country, from the Apulia aqueducts to the tunnels in the Catanzaro area just to name a few.

Make a group

Her name did not appear in the jobs that followed since she entered the register only from the year 1950. In that same period she began to deal with the promotion of women in this sector: then, 148 women graduated in Engineering and 147 in Architecture.

On December 12, 1957 he founded the Italian Association of Engineers and Architects (AIDIA) along with other colleagues such as Anna Enrichetta Amour, Laura Lange, Ines del Tetto, Lidia Landi, Adelia Racheli, Vittoria Ilardi, Alessandra Bonfanti and Laura Poli, the first graduate in engineering from the University of Padua in 1920.

The objectives were to promote the exchange of ideas for cultural and professional purposes, to improve the work of women in the field of science and technology, mutual assistance in the field of the profession, to cultivate cultural ties. and professionals with similar Italian and foreign associations. . .

On June 7, the former Council Chamber of the Faculty of Polytechnic of Turin received its name.

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Sources: Save The Children/ CNI / Talentsventure

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