June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
Women in Engineering
11.632.1 - 11.632.17
Factors Associated with Women’s Interest in Computing Fieldsi
This paper presents a theoretically driven and empirically supported model that identifies key factors that predict high school and college women’s interest and choice in a career in information technology (IT). At the center of the model is the developmental construct of self- authorship and variables related to the process individuals use to make personal and educational decisions. For female high school and college students, the expression of interest in a career in the IT field is often made with little concrete information from sources outside of the immediate circle of trusted friends and family members. Findings have direct implications for recruiting and advising practice.
Research since the early 1970s indicates that a different set of variables are required in models that predict women’s and men’s career interests and choice30. There are particularly significant gender differences in how men and women become interested in, enter, and remain in the computing field2. A number of factors are associated with women’s career interests that are not significant for men. These include self-efficacy5, consideration of the needs of others39, attachment to parents4, 31, 34 and the value awarded to marriage and a family16. There is a much weaker connection for women than there is for men between interests, enjoyment, and career choice31.
The purpose of this paper is to explain a theoretically driven statistical model of key variables that predict high school and college women’s interest and choice of a career in a computer-related field and to identify areas where there are statistically significant gender differences. Our focus is on careers in the field of information technology (IT). By IT, we mean a full range of professional careers that are computer driven, including those that involve web design, web development, and hardware and software engineering, but exclude data processing.
We employ the developmental construct of self-authorship as a theoretical lens to understand the cognitive processes students use to make decisions, including career decisions9. Defined as “the ability to collect, interpret, and analyze information and reflect on one’s own beliefs in order to form judgments” (p. 143) 6, self-authorship is grounded in the work of Perry33 and Kegan23. Self-authorship is linked to decision making because it influences how individuals
Creamer, E., & Lee, S., & Meszaros, P. (2006, June), Factors Associated With Women's Interest In Computing Fields Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--343
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