June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Women in Engineering
Approximately one in four women leave the engineering profession within the first five years, a rate much higher than their male counterparts (1). Studies of STEM professionals have found that women encounter numerous challenges in hiring and reviews of performance due to implicit bias (2). Women of minority backgrounds are held to stricter standards of competence than whites and are less likely to be recognized for their skills (3).
The purpose of this study, a joint venture between two professional engineering associations, is twofold:
1. Determine what challenges underrepresented minority female engineers have experienced early in their careers
2. Identify the strategies underrepresented minority female engineers employ to cope with those vocational challenges
The target population for this study is underrepresented minority women who are one to five years into their engineering careers. Researchers have chosen this population because women comprise approximately half of all employed college graduates, but they represent only 12% of those with college degrees working in engineering occupations. Minority women (Black and Hispanic) make up less than two percent of engineering professionals.
The study explores the external support systems that assist these women through the beginning stage of their careers; of particular interest is support provided by professional associations and whether or not that support is adequate.
Data will be collected through one-on-one interviews of underrepresented minority female engineers who graduated from an ABET-accredited university with a bachelor's degree between 2011 and 2015. The data collected will be analyzed to identify patterns and themes around the challenges that underrepresented minority female engineers have experienced early in their careers and the strategies they have employed to cope with those challenges.
1. Corbett, C. and Hill, C. (2015). Solving the equation: The variables for women’s success in engineering and computing. AAUW: Washington, DC.
2. Hill, C., Corbett, C., and St. Rose, A. (2010). Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. AAUW: Washington, DC. 3. Obiomon, P.H., Tickles, V.C., Wowo, A.H., Holland-Hunt, S. (2007). Advancement of Women of Color in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Disciplines. Faculty Resource Network.
Yates, N., & Rincon, R. (2017, June), Minority Women in the Workplace: Early Career Challenges and Strategies for Overcoming Obstacles Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28673
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