Building Gender Diversity: Engineering and Architecture

SUTD takes pride in attracting a 40% female student cohort yearly.

Gender diversity at SUTD is important for us to achieve our mission to nurture technically-grounded leaders and innovators, as the different perspectives the respective genders bring are invaluable.

In Singapore, according to the latest statistics from Ministry of Education, more women are pursuing university degrees in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

In 2019, more women enrolled in STEM courses at the six local universities as compared to 2017 - 41% (2019) and 38% (2017) of students in these courses were women. These included courses such as architecture, engineering sciences and information technology.

However, in the corporate world, out of the top 100 primary-listed companies on the Singapore Exchange, women occupy only 21.5% of board participation (as of 31 Dec 2022). Also, despite that more women are pursuing STEM degrees in local universities, only 30% of local researchers and engineers are women.

Specifically, in the sector of science and technology (S&T), about one in four is a woman and this proportion has stagnated in the last decade.

While the number of female IT professionals has grown about 10% since 2011, it is still less than half the growth compared to their male counterparts.

To encourage a higher participation of females in design and technology, SUTD adopts a holistic approach to attract female students, faculty and staff.


Our Initiatives

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SUTD - Women x Tech & Design Series

The SUTD - Women x Tech and Design Series is one of SUTD’s signature outreach efforts to inspire students, particularly, female students, to explore the endless potential to better the world with technology and design. Events from this series are hands-on and inspiring, which could range from a design workshop to an experience in a collaboration organisation.

Design Workshops

Students are guided by our female faculty and students to design future innovations that will better our world. The themes or issues include ageing, city planning, congestion in transportation and housing, waste management, and air pollution etc. The workshops are a good glimpse of how classes are like in SUTD.

Intro Series Online Workshops

There is a saying that technology drives people apart. But in SUTD, we believe that technology can also bring people closer together. Despite the social distancing measures during the pandemic, we came up with online workshops such as Intro to Python Coding and Intro to Singapore's Architecture and Sketching for students to still be able to experience hands-on learning virtually.

Opportunities to Meet Female Leaders

Students have the chance to meet female role models from various industries. They include leaders from DP Architects, Changi Airport Group, Rolls Royce, Microsoft, as well as faculty in fields of architecture, product development, nanotechnology, transportation and psychology. From talks to mingling sessions, the female leaders share their stories and experience to ignite the spark in the next generation of women in technology and design. 

Experience in Collaboration Organisations

From a sneak peek tour at Changi Airport Terminal 4 before its official opening to an exclusive tour and coding session at Microsoft's office, the experience has always been unique and memorable for the students who join us. In this series, we are always looking to provide students with the opportunities to be exposed to as many industries as possible to gain insights and learn.

The SUTD - Women x Tech & Design series has a minimal of two events yearly, usually in January and July, since SUTD started.

In 2013, SUTD was awarded AWARE's Cause of the Year (Education) Award for promoting gender balance in male dominated disciplines. It is also the first time for a Institute of Higher Learning to receive the award.

Scholarships/Study Awards for Women

IWA Gyan Jyoti Study Award

Through the generosity of the Indian Women's Association (IWA) of Singapore, the IWA Gyan Jyoti Study Award is established to provide financial assistance to deserving female students pursuing their studies at SUTD.

Kewalram Chanrai Group — SUTD Scholarship for Women

Through the generosity of the Kewalram Chanrai Group, the Kewalram Chanrai Group - SUTD Scholarship for Women is available to outstanding full-time female undergraduates pursuing the SUTD Honours and Research Programme (SHARP), the SUTD-Duke-NUS Special Track or the SUTD Technology Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP).

PayPal — SUTD Women Luminaries Programme

Supported by PayPal, the PayPal - SUTD Women Luminaries Programme is available to outstanding female undergraduates pursuing their studies at SUTD.

Singtel — ​SUTD Women in Tech Scholarship

Supported by Singtel, the Singtel - ​SUTD Women in Tech Scholarship is available to outstanding female undergraduates pursuing their studies in Computer Science and Design (CSD), Design and Artificial Intelligence (DAI), Engineering Product Development (EPD) or  Engineering Systems and Design (ESD) at SUTD.

Female Faculty

Professor Yang Hui Ying (left), Associate Professor Dawn Tan and Professor Low Hong Yee.

At SUTD, about 20% (and growing!) of our faculty members are female.
Three of our outstanding Engineering Product Development (EPD) professors, Associate Professor Dawn Tan, Professor Low Hong Yee, Professor Yang Hui Ying have been awarded the L’Oréal Singapore For Women In Science National Fellowship in 2017, 2016 and 2010 respectively.
The L’Oréal Singapore for Women in Science National Fellowships programme aims to recognize and award talented women in the field of science.

Female Valedictorians

SUTD has graduated eight batches of students since 2015 and five female students, Olivia Seow (Class of 2015), Jean Lee (Class of 2016), Kimberlyn Nicole Tjipto (Class of 2017), Blossom Tang (Class of 2019) and Natalie Ng (Class of 2021) were selected as valedictorians for their excellent academic and service achievements.

Engineering Product Development (EPD) graduate, Olivia Seow, co-founder of Ring Theory, shrunk the size of a keycard into a ring, creating the Sesame Ring. The Sesame Ring, the first wearable metro pass in America, was adopted by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and made travelling on the metro a breeze for thousands of commuters.

Jean Lee graduated with a Master of Architecture in September 2017 and is currently working as an architectural assistant at Architects 61, the industry partner for her capstone project. When Jean was at SUTD, she received second place for the Keppel Award of Excellence in 2016 and also interned at Surbana Jurong Private Limited and the Housing & Development Board (HDB), where she worked on residential projects.

Kimberlyn Nicole Tjipto, also from the EPD pillar was the co-founder of Movinc. Movinc developed an add-on device, EMMA to motorise wheelchairs, redefining mobility among seniors. This device clinched $50k in the Create4Good Challenge in 2017.

Blossom Tang is an Engineering Systems and Design (ESD) graduate who is an outstanding and well-rounded student, strong in both the sciences and the arts, as well as in academics and sports. Blossom continued to pursue her passion in sports while in SUTD and served in the SUTD’s Taekwondo Club Exco for two years in different positions, first as President, then as Captain. During this time, she won several medals in taekwondo competitions. To promote martial arts as a sport, she also organised the first collaborative martial arts workshop with five other clubs. She is currently a Systems Analyst at Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

Natalie Ng graduated with a Master in Architecture and is one who is interested in community engagement through architecture. She also believes that design is about spatial experiences and relationships. Having completed her internship at WOHA Architects, she is currently an Architectural Assistant at LAUD Architects.

SUTD Women in Technology and Design Conference

Women in Technology & Design: Attracting, Supporting, Retaining, Thriving!

The inaugural SUTD Technology and Design Conference, held on 15 January 2018, discussed issues on attracting, supporting, and retaining women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) sectors.
The Conference focuses on four themes:

  1. Attracting women to join the technology and design sectors

  2. Supporting girls and women in school as they prepare for careers in technology and design

  3. Retaining women in these industries through concrete policy and workplace interventions that can mitigate attrition

  4. Thriving! When women are well supported at every stage of their technology and design trajectory, their chances of having successful and rewarding careers is boosted, and these industries will also benefit from their continued participation

Read more about the Conference.