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Women Engineers in the Middle East from Enrollment to Career: A Case Study

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session


Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1482.1 - 25.1482.9



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Paper Authors


Hoda Baytiyeh American University of Beirut

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Hoda Baytiyeh is a Computer Engineer. She has earned a Ph.D. in instructional technology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Education Department at the American University of Beirut. Her research interests include engineering education, ubiquitous
computing using open source software, and online learning communities.

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Women Engineers in the Middle East from Enrollment to Career: A Case StudyThe engineering profession has traditionally been a technical field based on theoreticaland scientific discipline and mainly dominated by male. In addition to the technicalknowledge, engineers must acquire sufficient personal and interpersonal skills in order toperform engineering tasks. This study investigates the status of women engineers inLebanon as a case study in the Middle East region. Through this study, the authorinvestigated the following questions: What are the influences and motives behindfemale’s decisions to choose engineering major? What are the difficulties that femaleengineers have encountered in their transition from university to workplace? And whatare the perceptions of female regarding the essential skills for a successful engineeringcareer? An online survey with Likert-scaled items was completed by 327 femaleengineers graduated from different universities in Lebanon and working in differentlocations around the world. The survey included four sections. The first section gatheredgeneral information and demographics from participants. The second section measureddifferent types of influences and motives for enrolling engineering college. The thirdsection investigated the main challenges facing female engineer graduates during theirtransition from college to career, and the last section identified the learning deficienciesthat hinder the effectiveness of practicing women engineers by assessing theirproficiencies before graduation and after starting their profession in terms of technical,interpersonal, and personal skills. After rating the potential influence sources, a genuineinterest in the field appeared to be the main influence affecting the participants’ owndecision. Intrinsic and extrinsic motivational factors were revealed: personal growth,professional growth, social growth, and financial growth. The professional growthincluding job satisfaction that improves the level of participants’ creativity in achallenging environment was the leading motivator for choosing engineering. Moreover,the results showed three main challenges facing female engineering graduates related toaspects of communication, responsibility, and self-confidence. Although participantsreported that they possessed adequate theoretical knowledge and technical skills beforegraduation, noticeable weaknesses in creativity and innovation were found whenpracticing the engineering career.

Baytiyeh, H. (2012, June), Women Engineers in the Middle East from Enrollment to Career: A Case Study Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--22239

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