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Educational Trends Of Minority Women In The Usa: The Untapped Resource

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

The Climate for Women In Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.465.1 - 8.465.20



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Paper Authors

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John Kaplan

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Kathleen Kaplan

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3592

Session Division: WIED 3592

Educational Trends of Minority Women in the USA: The Untapped Resource

Kathleen M. Kaplan, D.Sc., Lt Col John J. Kaplan (Ph.D., J.D.) USAF

Howard University/USAF


The greatest untapped resource in engineering is minority women. According to the statistics, women are making great strides in education. Unfortunately, the numbers also show that women are woefully underrepresented in the field of engineering. Even more concerning is the percentages of minority women receiving bachelor degrees overall, and more specifically in engineering, with respect to U.S. percentages of minority women. More discrepancies are found within the group of minority women as to recipients of degrees. The two largest groups within the set of U.S. minority women, Blacks and Hispanics, are not the largest recipients of bachelor degrees, nor engineering degrees. Looking toward the future also shows a problem, minority females are not graduating from high school in the same percentages as non-minority females. This, coupled with the future population predictions from the U.S. Census Bureau, indicates a bleak future for engineering. This paper will address all of the above items: the current U.S. population and education figures, with emphasis on women; the trend of some minority groups to obtain higher percentages of both bachelor and engineering degrees over other minority groups; the next-generation of college students; the projected future populations; and some possible solutions to increasing the numbers of women minority students to benefit engineering.

Literature Search

A great deal of information has been written on minority females in education. Unfortunately, much of this information is inaccurate or misleading. Most often, minority groups are not differentiated. Therefore, all minority females are combined and while the overall increase in engineering for the entire group may look promising, the increases in the specific racial groups are not. NSF1, for example, states, “While overall undergraduate engineering enrollment has been declining, enrollment of women and minorities has been increasing, particularly in the 1990s. The number of female students enrolled in engineering increased from 61,000 in 1990 to 68,000 in 1996. For underrepresented

“Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education”

Kaplan, J., & Kaplan, K. (2003, June), Educational Trends Of Minority Women In The Usa: The Untapped Resource Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12385

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