Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Engineering, nursing among gender-dominated majors

Some majors and colleges at The University of Alabama see large gender disparity, despite trends to create more gender diversity. Beginning as early as 1989, women have held a slight majority to men in total enrollment figures on campus, according to report from the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment.

Greg Singleton, director of engineering student services, said historically, engineering has been a field dominated by white men, but recent initiatives to increase the enrollment of women and minorities have shown promising results.

“Industry has demanded diversity and inclusion in the workplace,” Singleton said. “UA alone has seen a dramatic increase in engineering female enrollment from 308 in 2003 to 711 in fall 2012.”

Nevertheless, men still continue to dominate the University’s engineering school with 711 women to 2,849 men, roughly 20 percent to 80 percent, Singleton said.

“At UA, engineering fields such as chemical and metallurgical have seen the closest balance of female to male ratio,” he said.

Across campus at the Capstone College of Nursing, Rebekah Welch, director of the office of nursing student services, said as of fall 2012, nursing had 1,499 undergraduates enrolled, 128 men and 1,371 women.

“The percentage of undergrad males has risen each academic year since 2010,” Welch said. “For the 2012-13 academic year, approximately 12 percent of our undergraduates were males, and for the 2011-12 academic year, approximately 10 percent of our undergrad population were males.”

Though this upward trend exists, there still remains a huge discrepancy within the field since only roughly 8.5 percent of the students are men.

Another college that typically holds more women, the College of Communication and Information Sciences, continues to live up to this trend with 755 men and 1,665 women in the fall class. These figures represent an approximate 31 to 69 percent men to women ratio.

Mary Ann Bradley, registrar for the College of C&IS, said this trend really has not changed much and appears to hold true nationally.

“It’s always been more female than male,” Bradley said. “The goal is to recruit outstanding students, whether they be male or female.”

Within this college, the largest gender disparity occurs in the public relations major with 700 women and only 135 men. The telecommunication and film department holds the closest match between the two genders with 324 women and 269 men, Bradley said.

In the Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration, men remain the majority to women in all departments, excluding marketing.

“To declare a major in C&BA, a student needs a 2.5, but for students who don’t meet this requirement, they can declare a general business major with 2.0,” Daniel Maguire, registrar for the college, said. “It was created at the behest of the administration as a safety net.”

The fact there are more men in the general business major, a 221 to 88 ratio, plays into the stereotype that women are smarter than men, Maguire said.

“You can’t extrapolate on that too much though,” he said. “But if you were to tease out some of the factors involved, it would probably give you some interesting food for thought.”

The largest disparity in this college is found in the finance major with 230 men and 88 women.

Maguire said he would be interested in running a gender report in the future for his college.

“It might even make a good Ph.D project to track those trends of gender discrepancies in career fields and see how majors stack up to that,” he said. “You always hear correlation is not causation, but it would be cool to do.”

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