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Perceptions Of Women’s Treatment In Engineering Education: From The Voices Of Male And Female Students

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Conference

2008 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Trends in Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Page Count

31

Page Numbers

13.971.1 - 13.971.31

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/4422

Download Count

31

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Paper Authors

author page

Lynette Osborne The George Washington University

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

1

PERCEPTIONS OF WOMEN’S TREATMENT IN ENGINEERING EDUCATION: FROM

THE VOICES OF MALE AND FEMALE STUDENTS

Despite the well-documented under-representation of women in higher education engineering programs, little research has probed the perceptions of gendered treatment of women as compared to men in these programs. Such information may be important in helping young women navigate the complex social and academic requirements of the major, and to illuminate men students and faculty to their contributions to the environment. This study uses a web questionnaire and interviews with sophomore engineering students to address this research question. The themes that emerged regarding perceptions of treatment of females in engineering indicate male and female students view the treatment of females differently both between and within gender groups.

Introduction

The number of women enrolling in higher education exceeds the number of men at

57.4% and 42.6% respectively (NSF, 2004), yet women are still under-represented in certain

fields of study. In certain academic majors, women are significantly under-represented. Most

notably, women comprise less than 20% of undergraduate students in engineering (NSF, 2004).

Perhaps more disturbing, however, is that undergraduate women “drop out of engineering school

at a higher rate (54 to 70 percent) than men (39 to 61 percent)” (Brainard, Staffin Metz, &

Gillmore, 1991, p. 2).

Despite the well-documented under-representation of women in higher education

engineering programs, little research has probed the perceptions of women in engineering as

compared to perceptions of their male counterparts. As such, the purpose of this study was to

investigate the question, “How do male and female engineering students perceive treatment of

women in engineering education?” Of particular importance to this project is the perceptions

students have about perceived treatment of women students by peers in the male-dominated

major of engineering. Since our behaviors are a result of our perceptions of reality, women’s and

Osborne, L. (2008, June), Perceptions Of Women’s Treatment In Engineering Education: From The Voices Of Male And Female Students Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/4422

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