Media Releases

U of T Engineering celebrates record number of female first-year students

January 28, 2015

TORONTO, ON — Women now account for 30.6 per cent of first-year stu­dents in engi­neer­ing pro­grams at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to: a record for U of T’s Fac­ul­ty of Applied Sci­ence & Engi­neer­ing and a num­ber that sur­pass­es all oth­er Ontario uni­ver­si­ties.

U of T Engi­neer­ing is the only engi­neer­ing school in Ontario with female first-year enrol­ment of more than 30 per cent. Nation­al fig­ures are expect­ed lat­er this year from Engi­neers Cana­da.

“U of T Engi­neer­ing is a rich envi­ron­ment for tal­ent­ed, bright women to become engi­neer­ing lead­ers,” says Dean Cristi­na Amon. “Diverse per­spec­tives are the foun­da­tion of our cul­ture of excel­lence in research, edu­ca­tion, ser­vice and inno­va­tion. This achieve­ment is encour­ag­ing as we con­tin­ue our proac­tive efforts to fos­ter diver­si­ty with­in the Fac­ul­ty, among uni­ver­si­ties and across the engi­neer­ing pro­fes­sion.”

Today, one quar­ter (25.8 per cent) of U of T Engi­neer­ing’s under­grad­u­ate pop­u­la­tion is female, com­pared to a province-wide aver­age of 19.7 per cent. Across Cana­da and the Unit­ed States last year, those aver­ages were 18.9 per cent and 19.9 per cent respec­tive­ly. The Fac­ul­ty’s tar­get­ed recruit­ment efforts have been suc­cess­ful, with female under­grad­u­ate enrol­ment up from 21.3 per cent just six years ago, along­side ris­ing entrance grade aver­ages for first-year stu­dents that reached a record 92.4 per cent this year.

“It’s exhil­a­rat­ing to be part of such a diverse and tal­ent­ed stu­dent com­mu­ni­ty,” says Tere­sa Nguyen, a fourth-year civ­il engi­neer­ing stu­dent and pres­i­dent of the Fac­ul­ty’s Engi­neer­ing Soci­ety (which elect­ed its first female pres­i­dent in 1975). “At U of T Engi­neer­ing, it does­n’t mat­ter what your back­ground is—it’s about the ideas, exper­tise and rea­son­ing you bring to the table.”

As a leader in engi­neer­ing edu­ca­tion and research, U of T Engi­neer­ing con­tin­ues to attract world-class fac­ul­ty. The com­ple­ment of female fac­ul­ty mem­bers has more than dou­bled in the past eight years, from 21 in 2006 to 44 in 2014. Sev­en­teen per cent of fac­ul­ty mem­bers are women, which is three points high­er than the Ontario aver­age (14 per cent) and four points high­er than the Cana­di­an aver­age (13 per cent).

These num­bers are expect­ed to grow in the years ahead, as ear­ly-career fac­ul­ty mem­bers move up in the aca­d­e­m­ic ranks. More than a quar­ter (27.8 per cent) of U of T Engi­neer­ing’s asso­ciate pro­fes­sors (ear­ly-career, tenure-stream fac­ul­ty mem­bers) are now women, com­pared to an Ontario aver­age of 15 per cent and a nation­al aver­age of 15.7 per cent.

In the 2014–15 aca­d­e­m­ic year, women account­ed for three of the four new fac­ul­ty mem­bers hired at U of T Engi­neer­ing. In addi­tion, all three of the Fac­ul­ty’s 2014 Cana­da Research Chairs are women; read more about U of T Engi­neer­ing’s newest pro­fes­sors and Cana­da Research Chairs

“Engi­neer­ing has changed sig­nif­i­cant­ly from when I began at U of T sev­er­al decades ago,” says Pro­fes­sor Susan McC­a­han, vice-provost, inno­va­tions in under­grad­u­ate edu­ca­tion, who was the Uni­ver­si­ty’s first female fac­ul­ty mem­ber in mechan­i­cal engi­neer­ing. “It is increas­ing­ly rec­og­nized as a vibrant and inno­v­a­tive pro­fes­sion: one that encour­ages broad per­spec­tives and col­lab­o­ra­tion to dri­ve pos­i­tive changes that improve our world.”

“Amidst the increas­ing num­bers of women enter­ing Engi­neer­ing pro­grams, there is more work to be done in attract­ing women to the diverse and reward­ing field of engi­neer­ing,” says Dean Cristi­na Amon. “We have re-imag­ined engi­neer­ing edu­ca­tion by intro­duc­ing pro­gram inno­va­tions, new resources for stu­dents and out­reach activ­i­ties to con­tin­ue to attract an even more diverse range of appli­cants, includ­ing women.”

As of 2013, women account­ed for just 11.7 per cent of all pro­fes­sion­al engi­neers in Cana­da, accord­ing to Engi­neers Cana­da. Grow­ing num­bers of female engi­neer­ing stu­dents sig­nal a promis­ing future for gen­der bal­ance in the pro­fes­sion.


—U of T Engi­neer­ing offers many out­reach pro­grams that aim to inspire girls and young women. In 2015, more than 560 female par­tic­i­pants and 20 female instruc­tors will take part. Read brief sum­maries of the many out­reach pro­grams at U of T Engi­neer­ing:

—Learn more about women in engi­neer­ing at U of T through a short time­line:

—Find ref­er­ences for all report­ed sta­tis­tics on our web­site:


For fur­ther infor­ma­tion:

Media con­tacts:

Eliz­a­beth Raymer
Com­mu­ni­ca­tions & Media Rela­tions Offi­cer, Spe­cial Projects
Fac­ul­ty of Applied Sci­ence & Engi­neer­ing
Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to

RJ Tay­lor
Com­mu­ni­ca­tions & Media Rela­tions Strate­gist
Fac­ul­ty of Applied Sci­ence & Engi­neer­ing
Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to