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Factors of Influence for Females Majoring in the Fields of Architecture, Engineering, and Construction

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Student-led Research on Engineering Education - Quantitative Methodologies

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Danielle Grimes Mississippi State University

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Danielle is a second year master's student in Biomedical Engineering at Mississippi State University. She graduated Cum Laude from Mississippi State University with a Biological Engineering bachelor's degree in May 2014, and Danielle was inducted into the Bagley College of Engineering Student Hall of Fame in April 2014. Her research interests include females in engineering and K-12 STEM education.

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Tom M Leathem Mississippi state university

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The professions of Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) have a history of being male dominated and disallowing female entrance. While some increase of gender diversity has been noted, even today the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports female participation in the AEC industries to be only 7.5 percent. Not surprisingly, these same trends extend to the collegiate level. A number of research studies have been conducted attempting to define the barriers to women in each of these fields. However, the majority of this research has taken place at the professional level, and little research has been done at the collegiate level. While similar barriers may exist for females at the collegiate level, it is conceivable that different barriers exist as well. The purpose of this research is to collect descriptive data on females majoring in the AEC disciplines to further understand the barriers to entry, and help determine what barriers women find when entering a male dominated field and their motivations.

Our work investigates the self-efficacy of women in engineering, construction, and architecture as well as motivating background factors and potential obstructions. Our research question is: What barriers exist for women majoring in architecture, engineering, and construction in self-efficacy, background factors, and view of obstructions? We collected this data through an online survey distributed via email to various students groups. The survey consisted of 10 questions centered on obstructions, background factors, and self-efficacy.

Our work is a first round investigation of women in these very similar majors at a university in the south east. Through this research we can begin to understand factors affecting women considering a professional future in these male dominated fields. Our work can help define motivating factors for women to enter into male dominated areas and their obstructions. It will also provide opportunity for cross-comparisons of the three professions to identify differing and overlapping factors that can later be used to form more effective recruitment techniques.

Grimes, D., & Leathem, T. M. (2016, June), Factors of Influence for Females Majoring in the Fields of Architecture, Engineering, and Construction Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26882

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