Gender across engineering majors

Harriet Hartman, Moshe Hartman, Jennifer Kadlowec

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Certain engineering majors attract more women than others, and this seems to be fairly universal. Bio-engineering, biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, civil/environmental engineering lead in the proportion of women enrolling and persisting, while mechanical and electrical and computer engineering have the lowest proportions. Engineering programs that have increased their proportion of women usually incorporate more of the former specializations, or have added in a new program of this kind. Little research has been done comparing differences between the women in these different kinds of majors. This paper contributes to filling this gap by addressing how the women in majors that are more commonly attracting women differ from women in majors with proportionately fewer women. The paper draws on data aggregated from surveys collected during the last six years from engineering students at Rowan University. It compares women in mechanical and electrical/computer engineering, to women in chemical and civil/environmental engineering, where the proportions of women are larger. Students are compared in terms of their academic and family backgrounds, whether they come in with different orientations to engineering (including engineering self-confidence and expectations from the engineering degree), and whether they exhibit different levels or types of satisfaction with the engineering major. Five hypotheses are offered; most of them are not supported by the data. Background differences, differences in general academic and math/science self-confidence, attributions of success, and expectations about the engineering degree do not result in the expected differences. Women do differ with respect to engineering self-confidence. Results are also compared to men in the respective majors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007
Event114th Annual ASEE Conference and Exposition, 2007 - Honolulu, HI, United States
Duration: Jun 24 2007Jun 27 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering(all)

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