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Engineering Women’s Attitudes and Goals in Choosing Disciplines with Above and Below Average Female Representation

School of Engineering Education, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA
Colleges of Engineering and Education, University of Nevada, Reno, NV 89557, USA
Department of Engineering and Science Education, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634, USA
Department of Physics & STEM Transformation Institute, Florida International University, Miami, FL 33199, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Soc. Sci. 2018, 7(3), 44;
Received: 15 December 2017 / Revised: 3 March 2018 / Accepted: 5 March 2018 / Published: 13 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Male-Dominated Domains)
PDF [776 KB, uploaded 23 March 2018]


Women’s participation in engineering remains well below that of men at all degree levels. However, despite the low enrollment of women in engineering as a whole, some engineering disciplines report above average female enrollment. We used multiple linear regression to examine the attitudes, beliefs, career outcome expectations, and career choice of first-year female engineering students enrolled in below average, average, and above average female representation disciplines in engineering. Our work begins to understand how the socially constructed masculine cultural norms of engineering may attract women differentially into specific engineering disciplines. This study used future time perspective, psychological personality traits, grit, various measures of STEM identities, and items related to career outcome expectations as theoretical frameworks. The results of this study indicate that women who are interested in engineering disciplines with different representations of women (i.e., more or less male-dominated) have significantly different attitudes and beliefs, career goals, and career plans. This study provides information about the perceptions that women may have and attitudes that they bring with them into particular engineering pathways. View Full-Text
Keywords: engineering disciplinary differences; masculine social norms; women in engineering engineering disciplinary differences; masculine social norms; women in engineering

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Verdín, D.; Godwin, A.; Kirn, A.; Benson, L.; Potvin, G. Engineering Women’s Attitudes and Goals in Choosing Disciplines with Above and Below Average Female Representation. Soc. Sci. 2018, 7, 44.

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