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Why Not Engineering Perspectives Of Young Women And The Influence Of Media

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Women in Engineering: A Potpourri

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.1320.1 - 7.1320.10



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Paper Authors

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Monica Bruning

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Session 1396

Why NOT Engineering – Perspectives of Young Women and the Influence of the Media

Monica J. Bruning

Iowa State University


This pilot study is developed to assess how young women (10 th grade girls) come to know the engineering profession. The study analyzes young women’s career exploration approach and the influence that the engineering language and imagery has upon the young women as they explore the profession. The pilot study employs a qualitative research design and utilizes feminist theory to better understand the perspectives of the young women. The research methodology incorporates participatory action research whereby the young women participate in the design of the study (primarily the data collection methods). The researcher presents the findings using an ethnographic writing style in order to tell the story from the perspectives of the research participants. The contents of this paper include: definition of the problem, purpose of the study, research questions, preliminary research, research design and methods, and early findings.

At the time of this paper submission for the conference proceedings, this research is in progress. About one-third of the data has been collected. The remaining data will be collected in the upcoming month. As a result, the findings and preliminary analysis will be presented at the 2002 ASEE Annual Conference.


The contributions of women to the engineering profession are vital, yet the interest level of young women considering the career field remains at unacceptably low levels. When looking at the supply of new workers — youth, in the case of this study — the career aspirations of high school students, and females in particular, do not meet workforce needs. Only 14% of a half million high school sophomores indicate an interest in engineering, and females comprise only 3% of the group (ACT Research, 1999).

The need to further develop a pipeline of interested and capable young women who will become tomorrow’s engineers is widely acknowledged. A review of youth culture and modern-day Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Bruning, M. (2002, June), Why Not Engineering Perspectives Of Young Women And The Influence Of Media Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10283

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