June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Ocean and Marine
It has been hypothesized and research has shown that diversity in the workforce can enhance creativity, improve problem solving, and ultimately improve a company's bottom line. Historically women have been underrepresented in engineering and more specifically in marine engineering and maritime industries. In this paper we will explore some of the possible reasons behind the considerable gender gap between male and female engineering enrollments at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA); including, but not limited to a lack of role models, especially in key positions; cultural stereotypes; impediments perceived or actual to careers in maritime or engineering industries, and media bias. This research will investigate a simple question across all MMA engineering majors: why are so few female students interested in becoming engineers at MMA.
MMA’s enrollment data and growth rate of female cadets over the last decade have been studied. Important parameters associated with this growth have been investigated. By the use of statistical analysis, SAT scores of the target demographic have been analyzed. The results of this analysis was used to find any meaningful deviation between male and female applicants. Additionally, through the use of a survey the priorities of target population in college selection and anticipated major has been assessed.
Results of an analysis of SAT scores showed that female engineers score 12.6% higher than female non-engineers on the Math SAT and 9.7% higher in the composite score. The survey results revealed that while media bias and cultural stereotypes had minimal influence on female student's decision to apply to MMA, role models were an important motivational factor. Also, more than 77% learned of opportunities at the Academy through their family member rather than usual college inquiry and selection process.
Maleki, F. S., & Stephens, G. M. (2017, June), A Case Study on Gender Gap in Massachusetts Maritime Academy Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/27445
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