School leavers thinking about studying accountancy, agriculture or philosophy next year will have a near-even gender split in their course.

All those fields of study had just slightly more women than men enrolled last year, a new Ministry of Education report shows.

Nursing, teacher education and radiography were the most female-dominated, with the proportion of men highest in automotive engineering, engineering and technology, and aerospace engineering.

The “What are they doing?” report details the gender split in 63 fields of study at bachelor level or higher.

Women accounted for 92 per cent of nursing enrolments last year, 84 per cent in teacher education and 84 per cent in radiography.

Male-dominated fields included several engineering fields and computer science (81 per cent).

Areas with a more even gender split included accountancy, chemical sciences, performing arts, philosophy, architecture, sport and recreation and agriculture.

At Lincoln University’s agriculture and life sciences faculty, enrolments are 56 per cent female at bachelors level and above – an increase from 47 per cent in 2010.

The university puts the increase in female students down to the sector increasingly reflecting the general population, and marketing to show the range of jobs within agriculture.

The ministry report also looked at how enrolment numbers had changed since 2008.

The field of health had the biggest increase in the share of enrolments – up from 15 per cent to 18 per cent last year.

There was also an increase in the proportion of students enrolled in “Stem” subjects – science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Engineering and related technologies increased from 4.9 per cent to 6.5 per cent, and information technology from 5.3 per cent to 6.4 per cent.

There was a decline in the proportion of students enrolled in the society and culture field of study (36 per cent to 32 per cent), and management and commerce (22 per cent to 20 per cent).

The Government has targeted funding at Stem subjects, including $97 million over four years to help institutions grow intakes.

Source: New Zealand Herald

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