June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
October 19, 2019
Women in Engineering
As researchers continue to investigate underrepresentation and retention of women in engineering, they often focus on undergraduate women. However, women are also departing from the engineering workforce and many attribute their decision to depart to the environment that is often characterized as masculine or exclusionary. Studies have shown that once beginning a career in engineering, 25% of women leave the field within five years.
To address the underrepresentation and retention of women in the engineering workforce, it is vital for engineering education researchers to understand the lived experiences of these women in the engineering workplace. This systematized literature review synthesizes research on the experiences of women within the non-academic, engineering workplace. This review examines female engineers from an international perspective and is not limited to female engineers in the United States. Using scholarly articles, this review seeks to answer the following questions: 1) What types of experiences do women in the engineering workforce encounter in the workplace? 2) How do these experiences influence women to leave or persist in the engineering workforce? In addition to answering the following questions, this review also seeks to identify any areas where further research is warranted. Using qualitative methods and analysis, three themes central to the experiences of women in the engineering workplace emerged. Women in engineering industry encounter experiences that include masculinized and non-supportive workplace cultures, various forms of discrimination and harassment, and the pressures associated with the day-to-day duties of their specific role. While some women can endure the exclusionary environments and inappropriate behavior, other women decide to depart from engineering industry altogether.
This review informs engineering industry of the experiences that may provoke women to leave the engineering workforce and thereby enables them to create workplace culture and environments that are inclusive of women–which will help broaden the participation of women in engineering.
Brown, H. P., & Godwin, A. (2019, June), A Systematized Literature Review of the Experiences of Women in the Engineering Workplace Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32010
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