Women in engineering education and careers in Benin and Ghana
In Ghana and Benin, several policies and programs have contributed to closing the gender gap in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and careers. However, while women’s participation in fields such as health sciences has markedly improved over the years, the gap in engineering is still very wide. For example, at Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), female enrolment in the College of Engineering was 7.4% in 2014–2015. In Benin, 25% of students enrolled in various engineering courses are women and 10% of the engineering lecturers are women. There is also evidence that people from rural and disadvantaged backgrounds face additional barriers to participating in STEM fields.
This project focuses on key training and professional institutions in Ghana and Benin, such as KNUST, the Ghana Institution of Engineers, and engineering departments at the University of Abomey-Calavi in Benin. Questionnaires and interviews will help to improve understanding of the career trajectories of women and men in engineering. By focusing on existing policies at these institutions, the project will identify specific factors that continue to impede progress towards gender equality in engineering.
The overall objective is to help bridge the gender gap in engineering in Ghana and Benin using original research and policy recommendations. The project specifically aims to assess the trends in women’s enrolment and participation in engineering courses and careers over the past three decades; identify systemic barriers that limit participation; and propose recommendations that can be developed by the institutions under study.
This project was selected for funding as part of IDRC’s call for proposals ”Breaking systemic barriers to women’s participation in science”.