June 16, 2002
June 16, 2002
June 19, 2002
7.1326.1 - 7.1326.13
Main Menu Session 1392
Women in Technology: Attitudes, Perceptions, and Beliefs regarding their Majors and Intended Careers
Susan G. Miller, Mara H. Wasburn Purdue University
A July 2001 report released by The National Council for Research on Women finds that much of the progress that women have made in science, engineering, and technology in the past two decades has stalled or eroded. Among other things, the report urges systematic change to invite and retain more women and girls in those disciplines. In 1998, at Purdue University, the student group Women in Technology was formed to promote leadership, networking, outreach, and mentoring among women, and to provide them with a sense of community. In this paper, we will present an overview of the organization; discuss the results of a survey of the members’ attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions regarding their majors and intended careers, foregrounding the voices of the participants; and propose strategies for better positioning the organization to recruit and retain women in the field of technology.
The past two decades have seen the implementation of a variety of programs that have succeeded in attracting more women into the fields of science, engineering, and technology. Many of these women are now in highly visible positions. However, although women constitute 51 percent of the population of the United States and 46 percent of the labor force, less than a quarter of the scientists and engineers in this country are women1. A July 2001 report released by The National Council for Research on Women finds that much of the progress that women have made in these areas has stalled or eroded2. The report underscores the increasing need for a scientifically and technologically literate workforce as we enter the new millennium. One year earlier, the Morella Commission, charged with developing strategies to attract more women and minorities into science, engineering, and technology, reported to the Committee on Science of the House of Representatives that significant barriers to attaining that goal are present from elementary school through college and beyond 3.
Women and girls will comprise at least half of the available science, engineering and technology talent pool. Therefore, it becomes imperative not only to attract but also to retain women and girls in these disciplines, a problem exacerbated by the fact that, among other things, science, engineering, and technology are seen as male 4, 5.
Male/female attitudes toward science and technology begin to differ as early as elementary and middle school and continue on into high school. It is during this period that girls develop an understanding of what social roles are appropriate for them 6, 7. They have some reservations
Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education
Miller, S., & Wasburn, M. (2002, June), Women In Technology At Purdue University: Attitudes, Perceptions, And Beliefs Regarding Their Majors And Intended Careers Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--11064
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