V. Patterns of Camp Attendance
For some time over the operation of the camp, it
had been suspected that certain schools and school boards were
more proactive about encouraging young women to investigate projects
like Discover Engineering. (Many of these boards have now been
amalgamated into one large board of education for the City of
Toronto, or the Megacity as it is known locally. Time will tell
how this affects the attendance patterns.)
Fig. 4. Camp Attendance by School Board.
The attendance figures for a 5 year period are
shown in Figure 4.
The data shown are only approximate. In some
cases, the number of female students in a particular board had
to be estimated by dividing the total number of students by 2.
As well, the number of female students in the private school system
is very small (n=1,250), so the attendance rates may not be statistically
significant. The data seems to indicate the following:
- As theorized in the educational equity literature,
the single-sex girls schools appear to send more students than
the co-educational schools. The Private and Metro Toronto Separate school
board, both with single sex schools, show the largest ratios of
- The numbers of attending students from private
schools are large, but this is due to participation of a few particular
schools. Other private schools very rarely send students to the
camp. This may indicate the perceived status of engineering working class
occupation, or it may reflect a perception of Ryerson
as a "blue
collar" milieu university.
- Even from the most proactive boards, the number
of attending students is low: on average less than 5 students
per thousand, over a 5 year period. It is difficult to believe
that in some boards fewer than 2 students per thousand are interested
in some aspect of applied science.
There are other interesting anomalies that show up
in the raw data (not shown here). Two interesting examples:
- Some individual schools (in particular one all-girl
Roman Catholic School) have been very proactive about sending students
to the camp. Other schools have sent only one student over the
5 year period. Since the camp literature is sent out uniformly
to all schools, it points to the differential impact of the material.
Science teachers and
guidance counselors, who may not be supportive of women pursuing nontraditional
careers. Anecdotal evidence accumulates about
guidance counselors still actively discouraging girls from such
- Interestingly, a high school with special focus on science and high technology
is one of the absentees, which is surprising. Perhaps students from this school
are attending other projects geared towards attracting young people to sciences
and engineering, or do not need this type of exposure.