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Dear Reader,
Thank you for your commitment to joining us, leading diversity thinkers,
industry leaders, engineers, and aca...
Writing the W into Engineering Solutions Forum
In-Depth Conversation about bringing Women and Engineering into a more Prod...
Table of Contents:
1. Man Up: Why Men?
a. How The U.N.'s #HeForShe Initiative Is Tackling Gender
b. Top 10 Ways to be a Ma...
1.Man Up: Why Men?
Session Outcome: The Forum will examine how personal accountability is the key for growing gender
equit...
What's more, the issues we heard about were voiced by students across the spectrum of gender, race,
class, and sexual iden...
1b. Top 10 Ways to be a Male Advocate for Technical women
Below are ten ways male advocates say they support technical wom...
8. Model alternative work/life strategies
People in positions of power need to model work-life balance if these practices ...
to women alone to change the organizational practices that maintain the status quo. As we have
seen in recent decades, thi...
2.Difference Makes Me Strong: The
resiliency of individuality
Session outcome: The forum will lead the discussion on topic...
must shift into what he called “geometric growth” (as cited in Basken, 2010, p. 1). Accordingly,
the goal of increasing th...
in the representation of African American women in STEM fields overall has persisted since at
least the 1970s (Ong, Wright...
to the likelihood of decreased exposure to science, technology, and computers outside the
classroom, young women and girls...
underrepresented minorities are apt to experience feelings of alienation in STEM classes, and
underlined the need for inst...
THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
Conceptually and practically, intersectionality serves a dual role as both a theoretical lens and
me...
METHOD
Chism and Banta (2007) suggest qualitative methods, especially those employing semi-
structured and open-ended appr...
2b. Inside the Double Bind: A Synthesis of Empirical
Research on Undergraduate and Graduate Women of Color
in Science, Tec...
other women of color – have been, and continue to be, stuck at junior-level positions and are
not advancing to leadership ...
2c. Let the Sisters Speak: Understanding Information
Technology from the Standpoint of the ‘Other’- Excerpt (Lynette
Kvasn...
and deviant lifestyles. Organizational dynamics and experiences for these two groups will be
different based upon these st...
* Third, given the great numbers of women of color who begin their education at community
colleges, two- and four-year ins...
3.Women: Why so few? It’s an “And” world.
Attract and retain the best.
Session outcome: The Forum will examine unique solu...
Various explanations have been offered to explain why women leave nontraditional
occupations, both in the scholarly litera...
in the ability to navigate the organizational culture, and confidence in the ability to manage
multiple life roles. Fouad ...
evaluations, sexist behaviors, and non-supportive supervisors (e.g., Ayre et al., 2013, Catalyst,
2008, Fouad et al., 2011...
SCCT theory (Lent et al., 2002) states that contextual influences in the form of supports are
positively related to choice...
consideration of their employees' work-life obligations and responsibilities. For example, studies
have shown that manager...
not merely leave their jobs, if they believed that their frustrations with poor pay or work
conditions would also characte...
3b. Embracing Diversity: Showing Students the Pathway (Gary
S. May, Originally published on the Dean’s blog, August 4, 201...
3c. Sexual Discrimination and Women's Retention Rates in
Science and Engineering Programs- Excerpt (Theresa
Conefrey,2001)...
Where instructors discriminate against women, or tolerate discrimination by others,
women's comments indicate that laborat...
and yet, on the other hand, they only succeed because of their sexuality: What it comes down to
is the pretty girls do som...
Yet, almost 30 years later, gender equity has not been achieved. Discrimination leads to
alienation, isolation, loss of co...
“The images in media sort of celebrate the young geeky male,” says Maria Klawe, the well-
respected president of Harvey Mu...
Writing the W into Engineering Pre-Forum Resource Book
Writing the W into Engineering Pre-Forum Resource Book
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Writing the W into Engineering Pre-Forum Resource Book

  1. 1. Dear Reader, Thank you for your commitment to joining us, leading diversity thinkers, industry leaders, engineers, and academia September 14-15 for the Writing the W into Engineering Forum. We are excited to hear diverse insights and perspectives from attendees as we critically deconstruct the deeply entrenched issues impeding gender equity in engineering which are maintained through policies, procedures, and everyday actions. The open forum and unrestricted Q&A will push us to truly examine self, individually and collectively, through a critical lens as we push for an inclusive environment and change of climate. To ensure we are adequately prepared for critical dialogue, we have organized a resource book, a collection of literature, for popular education. It is organized as a spool of sources and ideologies challenging us to think analytically about systems of power within Engineering and our three forum topics. The literature includes work published by our dynamic forum speakers and sources that have influenced their paradigms. We hope you take advantage and come fully prepared to engage and evoke revolutionary wisdom as we create the BluePrint for Action. Alexandria Glaize Diversity Fellow Writing the W into Engineering Resource Book
  2. 2. Writing the W into Engineering Solutions Forum In-Depth Conversation about bringing Women and Engineering into a more Productive Harmony September 14-15, 2016 Texas A&M Forum Overview and Goals “Writing the W into Engineering” aims to be a difference-maker in addressing why gender equity in engineering has been so difficult. We will candidly discuss practices and issues, successes and failures of business and academia to make engineering rewarding and attractive to women as lifetime careers. The agenda is curated from more than six months of intensive roundtable conversations across the US. Topics taboo and formerly pushed under the table surfaced as elements essential to dramatic change, including:  Engineering’s culture is broadly and specifically the problem.  Individual change, not organizational change, is the difference-maker.  Decisions to opt-in are as important as choices to opt-out.  Both men and women quickly embed in problematic culture values.  “I have to change” must replace “That’s the way it is.” The Forum will encourage broad and piercing discussion of these and other issues in open discussion, innovative approaches and documented going-forward plans. Additionally, the Forum will enable participants to stress-test their own approaches through the supportive critique of other participants and facilitators. Those in the private sector will have a better understanding of government policy development, while those in education and the public sector will gain a deeper insight of the needs of businesses. Participants will develop the BluePrint for Action. The Forum will be proactively focused on movement and action. We want it to be kinetic. We believe this word describes, on many levels, what we are trying to achieve.
  3. 3. Table of Contents: 1. Man Up: Why Men? a. How The U.N.'s #HeForShe Initiative Is Tackling Gender b. Top 10 Ways to be a Male Advocate for Technical women c. Engaging Men in Gender Initiatives: What change agents need to know 2. Difference Makes Me Strong: The resiliency of individuality a. Intersectionality and STEM : The Role of Race and Gender in the Academic Pursuits of African American Women in STEM b. Inside the Double Bind: A Synthesis of Empirical Research on Undergraduate and Graduate Women of Color in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics c. Let the Sister speak d. Women of Color in Stem Fields 3. Why so few? It’s an” And” world. Attract and retain the best a. Comparison of women engineers who persist in or depart from engineering’ Journal of Vocational Behavior b. Embracing Diversity: Showing Students the Pathway c. Sexual Discrimination and Women's Retention Rates in Science and Engineering Programs d. Attracting More Women to Study STEM in A World Full of Geek Dude 4. Annotations 5. Additional Sources
  4. 4. 1.Man Up: Why Men? Session Outcome: The Forum will examine how personal accountability is the key for growing gender equity in the engineering disciplines. It will be a complex and highly charged examination of why those who sustain the culture must step up to change it, person by person. The Forum will highlight examples of how men can accelerate change and make a difference. The candid and open dialogue will highlight how individuals can make personal immediate commitment to change their behaviors and the behaviors of other key influencers in their organization. Aim: We would like panelist to share their views on the importance of individual and personal accountability with a specific focus on de-bunking the myths about women in engineering. Panel participants will identify and share best practices for holding individuals and organizations accountable for sustainable transformative actions, behaviors and explore new possibilities through collective engagement. The goal of the discussion is to ensure there is a collective understanding male engineers need to embrace personal responsibility. Key point to consider: Everyone plays a vital role. We would like to hear stories from the audience on best practices and its limitations. 1a. How The U.N.'s #HeForShe Initiative Is Tackling Gender (Elizabeth Nyamayaro, 2015) Debates over paid family leave, the gender wage gap, and women in leadership roles finally seem to be making an impact. These are all important issues to tackle in the business world, but we need to start making more headway much earlier. We need to go back to college. These are all important issues to tackle in the business world, but we need to start making more headway much earlier. We need to go back to college. While gender and on-campus behavior have been in the spotlight lately, especially when it comes to sexual assault, discussions about women's experiences and positions in the institutions they enter after graduating remain largely apart. That represents a missed opportunity. Bridging The Divide This was apparent last month when the U.N. Women HeForShe movement toured several major universities and asked students about their most pressing concerns. Four key issues kept coming up: academic equality, career equality, sexual harassment and assault, and implicit biases. Students didn't feel there were adequate systems in place to ensure that curriculums and the approach to instruction were empowering to all. Some of those concerns strongly echoed complaints professional women make about their employers. (Many student activists we spoke with even called for equal benefits for all professors and administrators, including parental leave and pay equity.) And many also described facing implicit gender biases that damaged their academic, athletic, and professional opportunities.
  5. 5. What's more, the issues we heard about were voiced by students across the spectrum of gender, race, class, and sexual identity. These are universal, they're valid, and they're solvable. By taking action with an eye to each of the distinct and overlapping communities concerned, we can create change on campus that can then carry into the office, the boardroom, and beyond. What Colleges Can Do Universities need to listen more. Although campuses share many of the same issues, everyone needs to measure its own shortcomings individually and commit to distinct plans of action. Canada’s leading engineering school, the University of Waterloo, recently established the first-ever HeForShe scholarships for female engineers in order to close the gap in STEM. The University of Leicester in the U.K. is taking a different approach. It's identified the six disciplines with the largest disparity between male and female enrollment, committing to narrowing those gaps by a percentage point each year. The university is also launching a campaign to get more men to pursue psychology and women into engineering programs. The issues we heard about were voiced by students across the spectrum of gender, race, class, and sexual identity. From Awareness To Action This isn't a question of having more people support the idea of a gender-equal society. Most people already do. Now we have to convert supporters into practitioners. That's why the education we need to do in college has to be substantial and far-reaching—including tools and skills training that create more inclusivity in other organizations, too. For instance, HeForShe is currently working with its IMPACT Champion, Stony Brook University, to develop a range of programs that redefine masculinity in a more positive way. The stakes are high, and the implications of gender inequality can be as severe for young men as they are for women. When we launched HeForShe in September 2014, we never expected to get so many letters from incarcerated young men. No matter who they were or where they came from, these men and boys all had one thing in common: They'd been told that their feelings made them weak, effeminate, and inferior. This shame was so strong and unrelenting that it had misshaped their lives. When we launched HeForShe in September 2014, we never expected to get so many letters from incarcerated young men. Making Diversity Matter To Everyone So HeForShe has built a platform to help young people feel liberated from those gender-based social constructs. The #GetFree University tour aims to create a world where we can all be free to be ourselves—that is, to be emotional, strong, ambitious, vulnerable, and real—on our own terms. The main challenge today is getting people of all genders, backgrounds, and affiliations to feel equally invested in gender equality. That will always be a grassroots effort—moving from individuals and student bodies to universities and corporations. At HeForShe, we have one very ambitious goal: to achieve a gender-equal world by 2030, and to do that we need everyone to get involved. After all, there's no one whom gender inequality doesn't affect. Small actions add up, take root, and spread through society. It's okay to start small, as long as we're always thinking big.
  6. 6. 1b. Top 10 Ways to be a Male Advocate for Technical women Below are ten ways male advocates say they support technical women and promote diversity efforts in their organizations. Use these ideas to influence your own efforts. 1. Listen to women's stories Male advocates in technical workplaces identify listening to their female colleagues' and bosses' stories about their experiences at work as one of the key drivers for their advocacy efforts. The women's stories alerted them to pressures and circumstances they might never have noticed. Let women know that you are interested in hearing their perspective if they are willing to share. 2. Talk to other men Male supporters say talking to other men is critical. They raise awareness about why gender diversity is important, share what they have learned from women's stories, and intervene privately to correct discriminatory treatment, as needed. They suggest practicing what you might say in difficult conversations. 3. Seek out ways to recruit women Because men outnumber women in tech, women must be actively recruited. Inviting female students to apply for internships, requiring hiring committees to interview a certain number of candidates from under-represented groups, and providing promising minority employees with development experiences are just some of the ways men suggest shifting the status quo. 4. Increase the number and visibility of female leaders Male advocates recognize that having role models for a diverse range of employees is important for recruitment, retention, employee satisfaction, and productivity. Raise the visibility of female employees and consciously develop more female leaders who can model a range of leadership styles. Provide technical and managerial opportunities, training, and promotions as part of this development. 5. Mentor and sponsor women While female role models are important, women actually benefit greatly from powerful male mentors. These mentoring relationships should be tailored to the individual's needs, but two common suggestions are helping women navigate "hidden rules" in the organization and making technical women's accomplishments more visible in the organization. 6. Notice and correct micro-inequities or instances of unconscious bias Despite our best intentions, we are all subject to biases. When you see instances of unconscious (or conscious) bias in your organization, take action. Some suggestions include restructuring communication channels, moving people's desks or offices, paying attention to who speaks and who is interrupted in meetings, shifting departmental policies, adjusting salary discrepancies, or having one-on-one talks. 7. Establish accountability metrics As the adage goes, what gets measured gets done. Effective male advocates describe establishing metrics to diversify internship programs, new employee interviews, hires, promotions, and even the make-up of project teams. When you make diversity part of what individuals are evaluated on in performance appraisals or for funding allocations, changes occur.
  7. 7. 8. Model alternative work/life strategies People in positions of power need to model work-life balance if these practices are to become respected and accepted. Setting aside time to attend family or personal events, publicly utilizing leave policies, and respectfully encouraging employees' alternative or flexible work hours are some ways men suggest doing this. 9. Make discussions of gender less "risky" Sometimes it is easier for men to bring up gender issues because they are unlikely to be perceived as speaking in their own self-interest. Raise diversity topics in meetings; include information in newsletters or in professional development; and coordinate with female colleagues about how to best handle larger group conversations. 10. Reach out to formal and informal women's groups Male advocates stressed the importance of requesting invitations to technical women's meetings, participating in women-in-tech groups, and making sure that other men, especially top leadership, attend as well. Men also described the benefits of sending male colleagues to conferences like the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. Note: These practices are derived from 45 in-depth interviews conducted by NCWIT researchers with male corporate employees in technology organizations or departments. This resource was produced in partnership with the Male Influencer Team of NCWIT's Workforce Alliance. 1c. Engaging Men in Gender Initiatives: What Change Agents Need to Know: Excerpt (Catalyst) The WAY FORWARD: Engaging men The gender gap in leadership that is so common in many organizations1 represents a significant missed opportunity for business. While in many parts of the world women hold more than 50 percent of professional and managerial jobs, their representation in corporate leadership falls far below 50 percent. 2 These trends tell us that women, a highly skilled source of leadership talent, are being overlooked to the detriment of business. In the face of intense, global competition for talent, the companies that can tap the best talent—both women and men—will have an advantage over those that continue to rely on only men to fill top positions. The notion that women are good for business is one that more and more companies are acting on. 3 Yet despite their best efforts to tap women, many organizations have fallen short of their goals. Even among those companies that have implemented slews of programs to attract, develop, and retain women employees, gender gaps in hiring, promotion, and retention rates often persist—with men faring better than women on all counts. Why have so many programs missed the mark? One reason is that too many gender initiatives focus solely on changing women—from the way they network to the way they lead. Another reason is that too many organizations look
  8. 8. to women alone to change the organizational practices that maintain the status quo. As we have seen in recent decades, this approach has had limited success. Catalyst’s annual Censuses of the Fortune 500 show that the gender mix at the highest corporate ranks has changed very little in recent years. 4 To accelerate change, we need to stop treating gender as if it were just a woman’s burden. If organizations want to minimize gender disparities, they need to enable women and men to make behavioral changes. And perhaps most important, organizations must enlist both women and men to work together as allies in changing the organizational norms and structures that perpetuate gender gaps. Regrettably, in their exclusive focus on women, rather than engaging men, many companies have unwittingly alienated them, inadvertently jeopardizing the success of their gender initiatives. 5 Without the avid support of men, who are arguably the most powerful stakeholder group in most large corporations, significant progress toward ending gender disparities is unlikely.6 Engaging men is crucial to moving forward. But just what are the best ways to reach men? Based on in-depth interviews and surveys of senior male managers in business, this study begins to explore this question, providing insights about: • The experiences and beliefs that help increase men’s awareness of gender bias and its costs in the workplace. • The motivations that lead men to champion gender initiatives in the workplace. • The barriers that limit men’s support for initiatives to promote gender equality. • Specific techniques and practices to enlist men’s support for closing workplace gender gaps. Note: Please see bibliography to view full article
  9. 9. 2.Difference Makes Me Strong: The resiliency of individuality Session outcome: The forum will lead the discussion on topics related to the intersections of gender, the implications of gender washing and the interconnectedness of collective struggle, with a specific focus on race and ethnicity. Aim: This forum will focus on case studies, personal stories and research to expose and engage participants on topics related to the intersections of gender, the implications of gender washing and the interconnectedness of collective struggle, with a specific focus on race and ethnicity. It is important to note, race and ethnicity are not often discussed in Engineering, we would like to push the envelope. The goal is to have critical dialogue in regards to the varies experiences women face separately in engineering with an intersectional lens. key point to drive: A key message is gender cannot be simplified as an equalizing element 2a. Intersectionality and STEM : The Role of Race and Gender in the Academic Pursuits of African American Women in STEM : Excerpt (LaVar J. Charleston, Ryan P. Adserias, University of Wisconsin- Madison University of Wisconsin-Madison ,Nicole M. Lang, Jerlando F. L. Jackson , University of Wisconsin-Madison University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2014) African American women are disproportionately underrepresented in the domains of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in relation to their share of the United States population. This disparity must be reduced in order for the United States to maintain its global standing in the competitive arenas of technology and innovation. However, current research tends to underexamine how the intersection of race and gender identities impact the experiences of African American women pursuing STEM careers. This dearth of knowledge is addressed in this study, which examines the multifaceted marginalization that African American women typically experience in the process of obtaining their STEM degrees, particularly in the computing sciences. Accordingly, this study utilizes intersectionality theory as a theoretical foundation to explore the role race and gender play in the STEM pursuits of African American women, offering a window into some of the strategies this population employs in accomplishing STEM educational goals and pursuits. INTRODUCTION The director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), among others, has identified increasing the number of minority graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields as a national priority. In 2010 testimony before the House Subcommittee on Research and Science Education, then director, Arden L. Bement Jr., noted that changes in national demographics no longer allow for “linear growth” but that increases in minority STEM graduates
  10. 10. must shift into what he called “geometric growth” (as cited in Basken, 2010, p. 1). Accordingly, the goal of increasing the proportion of women and minority graduates in STEM fields is driven, in part, by research about these groups’ lack of representation in STEM academia and industries. The NSF's National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics 2010 dataset illustrates the significant hurdles facing women and African Americans in science and engineering (S&E) fields. Analyses show that despite African Americans comprising nearly 11% of the total 2010 U.S. labor force, 5.5% or 247,000 jobs classified as S&E occupations were held by African Americans; and of those 247,000 S&E occupation jobs, 108,000, or 2.4% of all S&E jobs, were held by African American women. However, those African American women who do work in STEM fields enjoy a smaller wage gap compared to women in non-STEM fields (as cited in Beede et al., 2011). In light of the statistical documentation demonstrating both women, overall, and minority women’s underrepresentation in STEM occupations and academic programs, numerous scholars have contributed empirical evidence and theoretical conceptualizations concerning the factors affecting women's college decision-making processes in regards to STEM fields (Morgan, Gelbgiser, & Weeden, 2013). Among these empirical and theoretical contributions include the role of stereotype threat in hindering women’s performance in mathematics (see Spencer, Steele, & Quinn, 1999); institutional variables affecting undergraduate STEM student completion rates (see Eagan, Hurtado, & Chang, 2010; Griffith, 2010; Perna et al., 2009); faculty influence on minority women's persistence in science (see A. C. Johnson, 2007); the postbaccalaureate career and educational goals of women in STEM majors (see Cole & Espinoza, 2011); and the overall role of gender-based stereotypes (see Nassar-McMillan, Wyer, Oliver-Hoyo, & Schneider, 2011). While these contributions serve to inform the current study, this study aims to better understand the intersections of race and gender, and how these identities intersect in the process of STEM education and matriculation among African American women in computing. As such, the primary research question driving this study was as follows: What role does race and gender play in the academic pursuits of African American women in the STEM field of computing sciences? REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE Women hold STEM jobs at a far lower rate compared to their overall participation in the job market—while African American women make up about 6.4% of the total population, they hold only 2.4% of all S&E jobs. Within mathematical and computing science occupations, African American women accounted for 65,000 of the more than 3.5 million people employed in these fields in 2010, or approximately 2% of the total mathematical and computing sciences jobs (Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering, 2013). Additionally, statistics measuring income disparities between White and African American women in computer information systems (CIS) fields show that on average, African American women earn 25% less than their White women counterparts (Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering, 2013). While these numbers demonstrate an underrepresentation of African American women in CIS for one recent year, the proportional lag
  11. 11. in the representation of African American women in STEM fields overall has persisted since at least the 1970s (Ong, Wright, Espinosa, & Orfield, 2011). While some have drawn on stereotypes to explain the underrepresentation of minority women— attributing it to a lack of interest among these women to pursue STEM-related majors and occupations—research provides no evidence of STEM aspiration gaps (Bonous-Hammarth, 2000; Smyth & McArdle, 2004; Staniec, 2004). On the other hand, underscoring the salience of social identity in minority women’s STEM academic and career goals, Ong and associates (2011) consistently found social identity to be among the most important in assuring STEM success. In their analysis, Ong and colleagues (2011) note that the intersectional identities of minority women play an important role in the development and persistence of these women in STEM fields. Additionally, Carlone and Johnson (2007) noted that the development of a science identity provided a solid foundation for future career success among the 15 minority women who participated in their study. Conversely, others identified factors decreasing the likelihood of persistence of minority women in STEM majors include: the lack of science talent development (Ong, 2005), the delegitimization of minority women within STEM communities, and the isolation minority women often experience when they are all-too-often among the few, if not only, minority woman in their laboratory or academic department (Carlone & Johnson, 2007). Intersectionality and STEM. An intersectional analysis of minority women’s experiences in STEM fields holds that minority women are subject to the complex interplay of sexism and racism, conceptualized as the double bind (Ong et al., 2011). The double bind consists of a set of “unique challenges minority women [face] as they simultaneously experienced sexism and racism in their STEM careers” (p. 175). In the context of African American women interested in STEM fields, the double bind concept holds that these women face the unique problem of pursuing career paths that are not only in conflict with their racial identity (A. C. Johnson, Brown, Carlone, & Cuevas, 2011) but also with their gender identity while situated in an environment historically dominated by White and Asian males (Jackson & Charleston, 2012; Brown, 1997; A. C. Johnson et al., 2011; Malcom, 1996; Margolis, Goode, & Bernier, 2011). Research supporting the importance of intersectional identities suggests that African American women’s success in STEM fields may hinge on the development of an identity that is compatible with their gender and racial identities, as well as their academic interests (Borum & Walker, 2012; Espinosa, 2008; Fogliati & Bussey, 2013; A. C. Johnson et al., 2011; Ko, Kachchaf, Ong, & Hodari, 2013; McGee & Martin, 2011; Rosenthal, London, Levy, & Lobel, 2011). Although the development of strong, intersectional identities have been identified as critical cultural and societal factors in development (Rosenthal et al., 2011), the intersections of Black women’s racial, gender, and scientific identities may conflict with many of the messages Black women and girls receive throughout the educational pipeline, and may thus pose a significant challenge to their ability to successfully develop a Black woman scientist identity. Challenges in the educational pipeline. From a young age, girls tend to be alienated by science (Brickhouse, Lowery, & Schultz, 2000). The conflation of numerous factors, including gendered- stereotypes, pedagogical techniques, and science curricula, conspire against many young women’s ability to develop and maintain an interest in science, as well as to develop a science identity (Brickhouse et al., 2000). Other factors, such as exposure to science and technology outside the classroom, have been identified as an impediment to young women’s interests in STEM fields. For example, researchers have shown that as compared to Whites, Black girls are less likely to be exposed to computers and technology at an early age, contributing to limiting their initial interest in the field (Fisher, Margolis, & Miller, 1997; Margolis et al., 2011). In addition
  12. 12. to the likelihood of decreased exposure to science, technology, and computers outside the classroom, young women and girls of color are less likely to succeed in the areas of math and science at all levels of their academic careers, leaving them underprepared to achieve success in STEM fields at the undergraduate level (ACT, 2006; Buzzetto-More, Ukoha, & Rustagi, 2010; Espinosa, 2008; A. C. Johnson et al., 2011; Perna et al., 2009). Despite the likelihood of depressed avenues of exposure and under preparation, the literature posits that the underrepresentation of Black women in STEM is due not to a lack of interest or competency, but instead is owed to the tendency of the American education system to disengage, under- educate, and underutilize women of color at all levels of the academic pipeline (Farinde & Lewis, 2012; A. C. Johnson et al., 2011; Koetal., 2013; Margolis et al., 2011; Syed & Chemers, 2011). From the elementary to high school level, young Black women have historically underperformed in the areas of math and science in comparison to their White counterparts, which has negatively impacted young Black women’s intentions to strive for careers in STEM fields (ACT, 2006). Although efforts to eradicate this disparity have been studied, and some models which have achieved success have been developed (e.g., the Meyerhoff Scholars Program described in Maton, Hrabowski, & Schmitt, 2000), exemplars demonstrating broad-based, successful initiatives remain sparse. Thus, for young Black women, several significant factors compound early on to generate barriers to their success in STEM including: The socially-constructed incongruence of gender, racial, and science identities (A. C. Johnson et al., 2011); systemic educational barriers to Black girls’ engagement in STEM (Brickhouse et al., 2000; Farinde & Lewis, 2012; A. C. Johnson et al., 2011; Syed & Chemers, 2011); and barriers inhibiting early science and technology exposure (Fisher et al., 1997). In the transition from K-12 to higher education systems, much of the published literature to date has emphasized adequate preparation at early and secondary levels of education as most integral to sustaining Black women STEM scholars in higher levels of academia (Ehrenberg, 2010; George, Neale, Van Horne, & Malcolm, 2001; Perna et al., 2009; Price, 2010). In light of the significant obstacles confronting many young Black women in the K-12 pipeline, particularly early on, it may be that young Black women develop lower levels of perceived self-efficacy in math and science, a related factor contributing to depressed levels of later STEM degree attainment (Espinosa, 2008). Indeed, research examining the decision to choose a STEM major found that that earlier achievement in mathematics contributed both significantly and positively to perceived math self-efficacy for underrepresented minorities, which in turn played a significant role in students’ decisions to choose a STEM major (see Wang, 2013). In light of Wang (2013) and others’ findings (e.g., Frank et al., 2008; Riegle-Crumb, King, Grodsky, & Muller, 2012; Riegle-Crumb, Moore, & Ramos-Wada, 2011), significant attention should be paid to early science and math achievement as a precursor to later high math and science self- efficacy development. At the undergraduate level, many studies point to social factors and academic rigor as hindrances to Black women’s persistence in STEM and computing sciences. Evidence that demonstrates that students of color are more likely to discontinue their STEM studies for a variety of reasons, such as social isolation, academic difficulties, and financial stresses(Buzzetto-More et al., 2010; Charleston, 2012; George et al., 2001), and may negatively contribute to Black women undergraduates’ experience based on their racial identity. Other scholars, such as Palmer, Maramba, and Dancy (2011), discovered that
  13. 13. underrepresented minorities are apt to experience feelings of alienation in STEM classes, and underlined the need for institutions to be more mindful of minority student integration and support at all levels of undergraduate experience including in the classroom culturally, and in terms of extracurricular activities (e.g., academic-related student clubs and organizations). For Black undergraduate women in STEM fields, the intersections of gender and race present unique barriers, as Black women often report instances of multifaceted discrimination based on both their gender and racial identities (D. R. Johnson, 2011).These barriers to success remain for Black women at the graduate level, where they are often faced with cultural boundaries that discourage their ability to amalgamate their other, and often-conflicting gender, racial, and academic identities. Studies concerning students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), many of whom have gone on to pursue graduate degrees at Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs), have shown HBCU environments to be conducive to Black students’ success in STEM fields (Malcom, 1996; Owens, Shelton, Bloom, & Cavil, 2012; Perna et al., 2009; Perna, Gasman, Gary, Lundy- Wagner, & Drezner, 2010). In one qualitative study, “From one Culture to Another: Years One and Two of Graduate School for African American Women in the STEM Fields,” Joseph (2012) investigated the HBCU-to-PWI pipeline and found that these students, who had experienced extremely nurturing and supportive cultural support at their undergraduate HBCUs, found their experience at the graduate-level in PWIs to be markedly cold and alienating, causing many of them to question their academic abilities. A similarly alienating culture was found in laboratory settings, where Black women often reported feeling like the other instead of successfully assimilating into their respective laboratory settings (see Ko et al., 2013). At higher levels of academia, such as doctoral or faculty positions, African American women face even more obstacles in advancing their careers in their respective fields (Syed & Chemers, 2011). These women face the unique problem of balancing their career advancement and their family lives while upholding culturally acceptable roles for their gender as well as their race (Cech, Rubineau, Silbey, & Seron, 2011; Ko et al., 2013). Moreover, many underrepresented minority women in STEM who pursue careers in academia report experiencing instances of sexism at their institutions of employment when faced with family-related matters such as maternity leave, which negatively affects their attitudes toward their own success (Turner et al., 2011). Another barrier to the retention of Black women in STEM fields at higher levels is the desire for activism. A qualitative study conducted by Ko, Kachchaf, Ong, and Hodari (2013) found that many women of color in STEM express a strong desire to improve conditions for younger generations of underrepresented racial identities and women through recruitment, volunteerism, charity work, or other activities—all of which can take precedence over their own professional advancement. Despite an increase in the amount of attention paid to the experiences, challenges, and barriers to women and minorities in STEM fields, research is still needed to better understand the specific barriers causing the underrepresentation of Black women in the computer sciences and the merits of various proposed prescriptions. By qualitatively exploring the experiences of African American STEM aspirants in computing science academic trajectories, this research study seeks to investigate and illuminate the current gaps in the literature in an effort to better formulate solutions to these obstacles. As mentioned previously, this study is guided by the following question: What role does race and gender play in the academic pursuits of African American women in the STEM field of computing sciences?
  14. 14. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK Conceptually and practically, intersectionality serves a dual role as both a theoretical lens and methodological framework. Intersectionality both critiques and offers alternatives to traditional modes of understanding the subjugating experiences of women whose marginalization emanates from multiple angles—in the case of Black women, as both a subjugated racial minority and as a woman. Further, intersectionality shifts the focus, as Cho, Crenshaw, and McCall (2013) put it, “beyond the more narrowly circumscribed demands for inclusion with the logics of sameness and difference” (p. 791). This shift in focus “addressed larger ideological structures in which subjects, problems, and solutions were framed” (Cho et al., 2013, p. 791). In other words, intersectionality’s utility is not confined to conceptual or theoretical applications; it also offers scholars a set of practical methodological tools to give voice to individuals with multiplicative marginalities. Through the creative and innovative deployment of empirical methodological traditions, researchers are better able to uncover, challenge, and undermine the phenomenon of multiple overlapping sources of subjugation. Intersectional lenses and methodologies have been deployed well beyond the law— intersectionality's field of origination—and have made contributions to other fields such as geography (e.g., Valentine, 2007); sociology (e.g., Choo & Ferree, 2010); psychology (e.g., Shields, 2008); leadership studies (e.g., Sanchez-Hucles & Davis, 2010); religion (e.g., Lee, 2012); queer theory and sexuality studies (e.g., Battle & Ashley, 2008; Fotopoulou, 2012; Moore, 2012; Stirratt, Meyer, Ouellette, & Gara, 2008); international and transnational studies (e.g., Choo, 2012; Lewis, 2013); and education (e.g., Alejano-Steele et al., 2011; Grant & Zwier, 2011; C. E. Harper, 2011; S. R. Harper et al., 2011; Museus & Griffin, 2011; Museus, 2011; Pifer, 2011; Stirratt et al., 2008). Although intersectionality has been widely applied in other areas of social science research (particularly in gender and critical race theory research contexts), Museus and Griffin (2011) noted intersectionality has been applied less frequently, and indeed runs counter to trends among higher education researchers, who tend to examine singular identities. Museus and Griffin (2011) further contend that contemporary unidimensional analytical frameworks at best obscure and overlook, and at worst contribute to the perpetuation of marginalization of some groups in higher education. By ignoring the true diversity of populations in postsecondary institutions, such scholarship overlooks those whose identities exist at the margins and reinforces ignorance about how intersecting identities impact inequality. Qualitative research methods have been identified by, among others, Stephanie Shields (2008) as appropriate for tackling questions of interrelated and intersectional identities. Shields (2008) observed that qualitative methods “appear to be more compatible with the theoretical language and intent of intersectionality” (p. 306). Further, unlike traditional quantitative methodologies of hypothesis testing, researchers employing qualitative methods are less burdened by a priori knowledge making (Shields, 2008). McCall (2005) identified research tools commonly employed in the anticategorical complexity approach that “crosscut the disciplinary divide between the social sciences and the humanities” (p. 1778)—both of which feature traditions strongly rooted in qualitative methodologies. McCall (2005) hailed ethnography as an appropriate intersectionality research design, while Nash (2008) noted the successful application of poetry, narrative, and standpoint epistemological methods in the service of conducting intersectional research.
  15. 15. METHOD Chism and Banta (2007) suggest qualitative methods, especially those employing semi- structured and open-ended approaches, allow participants to “introduce themes that the interviewer might not have anticipated in framing questions” (p. 16), which can be informative in measuring a wide variety of topics within institutions of higher education. Further, researchers suggest qualitative methods can be useful for assessing institutional cultures related to diversity (see Museus, 2007), and they are especially appropriate for discovering variables and conducting initial explorations of a research problem (see Creswell, 2012). In the case of this study, which seeks to illuminate experiences based on the intersectional identities of African American women in computing sciences, we chose to employ a qualitative research design to allow for participants to give voice to their own identities and experiences (Cole, 2009). A phenomenological design was well-suited to the study because our inquiry aims to understand a common experience of a group of people, allowing the researchers to use data from participants to develop foundational knowledge about the phenomenon (Moustakas, 1994; Shank, 2002). A focus group was conducted lasting approximately 90 minutes in duration and moderated by an African American woman. Participants provided consent orally and were made aware of their right to suspend the session at any time. The focus group session was recorded and the tape was transcribed and filed for possible future use as a promotional/professional aid (based on the consent of the participants). The session was comprised of a series of closed and open- ended questions designed to gather information relative to the participants’ experiences, with specific attention to the roles gender and race play within their academic trajectories within the computing sciences.
  16. 16. 2b. Inside the Double Bind: A Synthesis of Empirical Research on Undergraduate and Graduate Women of Color in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics- Excerpt (Maria Ong, Carol Wright, Lorelle Espinosa, and Gary Orfield, 2010) SECTION ONE: THE NATIONAL LANDSCAPE OF WOMEN OF COLOR IN SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, AND MATHEMATICS Improving recruitment and retention in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is a critical challenge facing the nation. In an increasingly globalized world, scientific advancement and innovation are vitally important for maintaining national security, economic competitiveness, and quality of life for our citizens. The United States faces serious threats to its global authority in many scientific and technical fields, in part because of the large investments in science and technology education and research being made by competing nations (National Academies, 2006). One critical component of the U.S. response to these challenges must be to invest in the potential of all Americans in building a robust workforce in STEM fields. Unfortunately, the current U.S. educational and research infrastructures fail to do this, and they systematically under-utilize important human resources of several groups, most notably women of color. As national demographics of college-age students rapidly shift towards majority-minority and as the college-age population remains majority female, it is timely and, perhaps, imperative that education and career efforts work to build capacity of women of color to assume advanced STEM positions. Because of their race, ethnicity, and gender, women of color who pursue advancement through STEM fields are caught in a double bind. The challenges of living at the intersection of race and gender were first brought to national attention by Shirley Malcom, Paula Hall, and Janet Brown, in their seminal 1976 American Association for the Advancement of Science report, The Double Bind: The Price of Being a Minority Woman in Science. The authors argued that the struggles to be scientists were greater for women of color than for White women or for men of any color. Thirty years later, the persistently low proportions of women of color in STEM support this claim. Even as underrepresented minority (URM) women – African American, Latina/Chicana, and Native American2 – have gained representation in STEM in absolute numbers in most fields since the publication of The Double Bind, they lag behind white men and their men of color counterparts at advanced stages of most STEM fields (NSF 2009). Moreover, their 2006 proportional demographic presence at the baccalaureate level is low compared with those of White and Asian American women (Figure 1.1; NSF, 2007; U.S. Census Bureau, 2009). In other words, the awarding of bachelor’s degrees to URM women is not at parity with their respective representations in the U.S. population. Unfortunately, the problem is even more severe at the doctoral level when comparing the representation of women of color in STEM to that of all men, to white women, and to women of color in the U.S. population. At the Ph.D. level in 2006, women of color were severely underrepresented, collectively earning only 9.9% of all doctorates awarded in science and engineering while their representation in the general U.S. population was 16.4% (Figure 1.2; NSF, 2007; U.S. Census Bureau, 2009). Asian American/Pacific Islander women have often been seen as the exception; indeed, 2006 data show that they earned STEM Ph.Ds at a disproportionate rate relative to their general U.S. representation. However, this group – like
  17. 17. other women of color – have been, and continue to be, stuck at junior-level positions and are not advancing to leadership positions at the same pace as their male and White female counterparts (National Research Council, 2006). Women and racial and ethnic minorities, and especially women of color, are widely considered to be untapped sources of domestic talent that could fill the country’s current and future scientific workforce needs (Ivie & Ray, 2005; National Academies, 2006). Moreover, non- traditional students and workers bring to STEM culturally different knowledge and experiences that may be leveraged to innovatively solve complex problems (Bement, 2009). Equally important, minority women’s status in advanced STEM arenas raises an important social justice issue: schools and workplaces must make greater efforts to address social and cultural inequities and to achieve environments that support broadened participation in STEM (S.W.Brown, 2000). While many institutions attempt such efforts, the statistics cited above show that too few are succeeding. The goal of this white paper is to unite disparate research about the individuals who traverse the double bind and the programs and institutions with which they interact, thereby creating a new and stronger knowledge base about what promotes success for this population. The project, Inside the Double Bind: A Synthesis of Empirical Research on Women of Color in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (NSF-DRL # 0635577), brought together a team of expert researchers towards this goal. Between 2006 and 2009, the project team, led by PIMaria Ong and Co-PI Gary Orfield, systematically searched for, identified, and compiled empirical research on women of color in STEM that was produced between 1970 and 2008. The team targeted literature that focused on postsecondary education and early-, mid-, and late- career stages. The resulting 116 works were then coded, analyzed, and synthesized. This paper presents a summary of key findings, following the methods section. It is our hope that this manuscript will provide new and established researchers a literature base from which to work and prompt ongoing awareness and discussion of the need to address the experiences of women of color in STEM through continued empirical-based study. Note: Please see bibliography to view full article
  18. 18. 2c. Let the Sisters Speak: Understanding Information Technology from the Standpoint of the ‘Other’- Excerpt (Lynette Kvasny,2006) Gender as variable The prevailing approach for studying gender in organizations is ‘Gender-as-variable’. In this perspective, women are treated as a relevant but unproblematic research category (Harding, 1987). The researcher is basically interested in comparing and explaining differences between the sexes. “It investigates if, in what respects, under which circumstance, and to what extent men and women differ in terms of subjective orientations (psychologies, ethics, values, attitudes), and how social structures and processes affect them. Various forms of gender inequality are measured and explained” (Alvesson & Billing, 1997, p. 24). Organizational interventions informed by this approach fail to address the fragmented nature of women’s experiences and needs, because there is an underlying assumption of a single female experience (Cheng, 1997; Henwood, 2000; Kvasny, 2003a; 2003b; Trauth 2002). This essentialist tendency is political in that it emphasizes a single characteristic of gender (sex) while ignoring the equally important impacts of race, class, national origin, and sexual preference on the self-identity of women. Cheng (1997) notes, “[a]lthough women-in- management research has become mainstream, other diversity issues are almost entirely ignored, particularly racism, patriarchy, class, heterosexism, sexuality, sexual identity, religion, postcolonial issues, physical Sopability and so on.” (p. 553). Poor women, lesbians, and women of color face a ‘system of interlocking inequalities and oppressions’, and these multiple identities are central in their lived experiences (hooks, 1995). Therefore, these women may find little in this essentialist notion of womanhood that fits their experiences with and perceptions about IT. Race as People of Color This tension between the commonality and uniqueness of women’s experiences is at the center of the debates in feminism (Caraway, 1991). Within this debate, there is a general call to theorize both race and gender as interlocking and simultaneous features of women’s existence (de Lauretis, 1986; Collins, 1990; Brush, 2001). However, in organizational studies, race is typically treated in an essentialist fashion (Cox and Nkomo, 1990). This leads to conventions such as merging people of color into single categories such as ‘nonwhite’ or ‘other’. For Omi and Winant (1986), race is more than biological difference; race is the result of the historical construction of racial categories that form the major bases of domination in US society. These categories play a crucial role in determining one’s politics and ideologies, one’s location in the workforce, and even one’s sense of identity. Thus, categorizations such as ‘nonwhite’ are political in that they ignore whiteness as a racial position and deny racial differences among people of color. It is only by acknowledging and analyzing the relationship between race and power in organizations that we can address issues of diversity and equity. We can see the importance of racial differences by comparing stereotyped notions of Asian- and African - Americans. On the one hand, Asian-Americans are stereotyped as the ‘model minority’ (Cheng & Thatchenkery, 1997) who are thought to have overcome cultural, racial, and social barriers to advancement. On the other hand, African-American women are stereotyped as ‘that single parent element’ (Kendell, 1999) who are thought to have immoral
  19. 19. and deviant lifestyles. Organizational dynamics and experiences for these two groups will be different based upon these stereotypes. To mask these differences in statistical manipulations like factor analysis is to deny the particular realities of racial experiences. Note: Please see bibliography to view full article 2d. Women of Color in STEM Fields - ( Espinosa, Lorelle L., 2011) As a group, women are still the largest untapped talent pool for growing America's science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, workforce. Women of color, in particular, remain greatly underrepresented in STEM disciplines despite a growing population of racial/ethnic minority groups and a growing number of women and minorities attending college. In an effort to raise awareness of this issue, the Harvard Educational Review, or HER, highlights the plight of women of color in STEM in its summer symposium issue, Unraveling the Double Bind: Women of Color in STEM (http://www.hepg.org.resources.library.brandeis.edu/ her/abstract/814). The issue comprises a collection of papers (I also served as a contributor) ranging from the history of empirical work on women of color in undergraduate and graduate STEM programs to recent quantitative and qualitative evidence on the experience of women of color in STEM across institutional types. According to one paper in the symposium issue, despite more than a 40-year research agenda, American scholars have produced only 116 empirical studies on women from racial/ethnic minority groups (including Asian American/Pacific Islanders) in STEM higher education and careers. Clearly, the field has under-examined this population, and it is only to our detriment as a nation. The most recent U.S. Census data depict African-American, Hispanic and Native American women, when taken together, representing nearly 16 percent of the U.S. population ages 1844. However, they represent just 10 percent and 6 percent of the nation's STEM bachelor's and doctoral degrees, respectively. It is, therefore, right to recognize the untapped resource that women of color represent when it comes to increasing STEM degrees and, ultimately, innovation in STEM fields. And yet, while many questions remain unanswered about just what works for women of color in STEM, contributors to the HER symposium issue echoed a number of cohesive, evidenced takeaways - all of which work to inform research, practice, and educational policy: * First, environment absolutely matters. Researchers are wise to continue to examine sub - contexts such as campus and departmental climate at differing institution types (e.g., community colleges, HBCUs, Hispanic-Serving Institutions). So, too, the policy community cannot afford to under-invest or discount the role that these varied institutions play in conferring STEM degrees. * Second, faculty support and involvement is not only desired by students, it is critical for their success. Faculty interaction at all levels (especially during graduate study) can be instrumental in keeping more women and women of color on a STEM career path. University leadership must put in place the supports that faculty need to make teaching and mentoring a priority and provide incentives to make the use of diverse pedagogies a lasting commitment within STEM departments.
  20. 20. * Third, given the great numbers of women of color who begin their education at community colleges, two- and four-year institutions must not only provide support structures for women who transfer from two-year colleges, but education policymakers also must act to make room for these women. Given deep budget cuts in many states, students who wish to transfer are being turned away from four-year institutions because of a lack of available courses as well as outright enrollment caps for transfers. * Finally, if we are to rely on evidence, we must start with the right set of data. Higher education's most widely used national data - the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, or IPEDS - fails to track women of color and underrepresented groups where they are. As many readers know, IPEDS does not capture part-time, transfer, or reentry students; yet, it remains the most used set of data in informing the policy community. Political leaders and policymakers can play a vital role in advancing inclusion in STEM, as well. National councils and influential individuals can do more with less in an economically strained environment by raising political will - a practice that can lead to financial investments by private philanthropies and corporate foundations. The White House Council on Women and Girls, for example, is an excellent platform for raising awareness on the need for more women and women of color in STEM fields. There are indeed a number of outlets for meaningful change when it comes to advancing women of color in STEM, and it is important that successful efforts are elevated. It is indeed encouraging that such a high-profile, prestigious journal like HER has taken on this issue - a move that I hope will help influence research, practice, and policy moving forward. Sidebar :"University leadership must put in place the supports that faculty need to make teaching and mentoring a priority and provide incentives to make the use of diverse pedagogies a lasting commitment within STEM departments."
  21. 21. 3.Women: Why so few? It’s an “And” world. Attract and retain the best. Session outcome: The Forum will examine unique solutions to attract women into engineering field, change the way we invest our resources and unearth the insights that will help us stop trailing all other disciplines with STEM. Aim: We would like panelist the lead the discussion about the various reasons women opt-in and opt-out of Engineering. This forum will be data and personal story driven with the aim to drive critical dialogue towards identifying exclusionary barriers. In addition to acknowledging barriers, we want the audience to focus on examining unique solutions that attract women into engineering field, change the way resources are invested and unearth the insights that will help us stop trailing other disciplines within STEM. Panelists will offer key insights into the importance of building critical links among educational institutions, corporate organizations and others to develop and sustain the robust talent pipeline Key point to consider: A key point for participants to consider is the different metrics used to determine opt in/ out in Higher Education and Corporate. 3a. ‘Comparison of women engineers who persist in or depart from engineering - Excerpt (Nadya A. Fouad, Romila Singh, Kevin Cappaert, Wen-hsin Chang, Min Wan,2016) Introduction The proportion of women in engineering has been a topic of intense focus for many years. Twenty percent of engineering graduates are women but only 11% of engineers are women (National Science Foundation, Division of Science Resources Statistics, 2011), a rate that has been relatively constant for over two decades. Thus, nearly half of women who graduate in engineering decide, somewhere along the way, to leave an engineering career. But, conversely, half remain in engineering. What are the factors that differentiate women engineers who stay in engineering and those who identify as ‘no longer working as an engineer’? The current research examined differences between women engineers who persisted versus those who left engineering by providing a comprehensive theoretical framework that unified two prominent theories of career change: social cognitive career theory (SCCT, Lent et al., 1994 and Lent et al., 2002) and the integrated model of career change (Rhodes & Doering, 1983). Prior research in this area (Singh et al., 2013) integrated the SCCT with Hom and Griffeth (1995) organizational turnover theory to examine the predictors of departure intentions on over 2000 women engineers. They found support for the relationship between the Social Cognitive constructs (self-efficacy and outcome expectations), organizational factors (organizational supports and job attitudes), and women's intention to leave their organizations. However, this research did not identify the factors that distinguish women who leave the engineering career from those who persist in the occupation.
  22. 22. Various explanations have been offered to explain why women leave nontraditional occupations, both in the scholarly literature and in the popular media. Some have argued that women leave engineering or STEM careers because they lack confidence (Cech et al., 2011 and Kay and Shipman, 2014), others cite women's lack of interests in technical areas (Seymour & Hewitt, 1997), and still others suggest that women's departure is linked to a chilly climate (American Association of University Women, 2010 and Society of Women Engineers, 2007). But to date, no studies have explicitly examined differences between women who leave engineering and those who stay. We address these limitations by using a comprehensive theoretical lens to examine differences between “persisters” and “nonpersisters” on self-efficacy, outcome expectations, interests, organizational supports, and barriers. Since individuals may leave a particular job, but not the profession of engineering, we also examine differences in the two groups on their intentions to leave the profession altogether. 2. Theoretical background and hypotheses Despite decades of research on career change and career mobility, the field is marked by a surprising absence of comprehensive theoretical frameworks that explain the career withdrawal decision. In this section we lay out the theoretical foundation for the study by presenting an integrated view of two prominent career change and management theories that undergird the study hypotheses. 2.1. Social cognitive career theory 2.1.1. Self-efficacy and outcome expectations The Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT; Lent et al., 1994 and Lent et al., 2002) was developed originally to apply Bandura's (2012) social cognitive model to the career area. Specifically, it was developed to predict the development of interests and the pursuit of career goals. Confidence in accomplishing tasks and expecting positive outcomes from engaging in tasks are hypothesized to lead to the development of interests. In turn, these are proposed to lead to setting goals for occupational choices and then acting on those goals. Self-efficacy and outcome expectations are also proposed to be domain specific. In other words, confidence in accomplishing tasks in one area is distinct from developing confidence in other areas. Most of the studies in engineering self-efficacy and outcome expectations have focused on engineering majors (e.g., Inda et al., 2013, Lent et al., 2013 and Lent et al., 2008) and examined differences between men and women on self-efficacy for engineering tasks or academic milestones. For example, Cech et al. (2011) focused on professional role self- confidence, finding that men were more confident than women and that lack of professional self- confidence in women was related to not persisting in an engineering major. However, these studies focused on college students' academic decisions that shaped their occupational paths and do not adequately capture individuals' post-college career decisions within the engineering field. In an attempt to address this gap in the literature, researchers have recently turned to examine the factors that influence engineering professionals' career decisions. Fouad, Fitzpatrick, and Liu (2011) interviewed women who left engineering and those who stayed in the field. They found three domains of self-efficacy and outcome expectations predominated in their participants' narratives. These were the following: confidence in engineering tasks, confidence
  23. 23. in the ability to navigate the organizational culture, and confidence in the ability to manage multiple life roles. Fouad et al. (2011) suggested that these may be the most salient domains that differentiate women who leave engineering and those who stay. The participants who left said they did so because they were not keeping up with the engineering tasks, were having trouble navigating work-life balance and their multiple roles, and expressed concern about dealing with the organizational politics in large companies. It may be that women who leave engineering careers do so because they are less confident in these three domains and have lower expectations of outcomes associated with being an engineer in an organization. Based on the reasoning drawn from the SCCT theory and current research, we propose the following two hypotheses: Hypothesis 1. : Women who leave engineering have lower levels of domain specific self-efficacy than women who stay in the field in the areas of accomplishing engineering tasks, managing multiple roles, and navigating the organizational culture. Hypothesis 2. : Women who leave engineering have lower levels of domain-specific outcome expectations than women who stayed in the field in the areas of accomplishing engineering tasks, managing multiple roles, and navigating the organizational culture 2.1.2. Vocational interests High levels of self-efficacy and outcome expectations are predicted in the Social Cognitive Career Theory (Lent et al., 1994) to lead to interests in the career area. Holland's occupational code for professional engineers is Realistic and Investigative on the Strong Interest Inventory (Donnay, Morris, Schaubhut, & Thompson, 2005). Holland's theory would predict that women who stay in engineering would have high Realistic and Investigative interests to be congruent with the occupational code. Lending support for this hypothesis with engineering students, Lent et al. (2013) found that having engineering interests predicted satisfaction with an engineering college major, which in turn predicted intentions to persist in the major. These relationships fit for both men and women, although it was a slightly better fit for women. This relationship may extend to predict persistence in the workplace. It may be that women leave engineering because either their Realistic and Investigative interests are low or that other interest codes are higher, leading them to leave and pursue other, more congruent occupations. This leads to the third hypothesis: Hypothesis 3 : Women who leave engineering have lower Realistic and Investigative interests and have higher Artistic, Social, Enterprising or Conventional interests than women who stay in engineering. 2.1.3. Contextual factors According to the SCCT (Lent et al., 2002), contextual factors in the form of barriers and supports exercise a significant influence on individuals' career choices. Limited research in this area indicates that women in engineering and technical workplaces experience isolation, biase
  24. 24. evaluations, sexist behaviors, and non-supportive supervisors (e.g., Ayre et al., 2013, Catalyst, 2008, Fouad et al., 2011 and Hewlett et al., 2008), that are labeled as “micro-aggressions” (Sue, 2010). Studies have shown that women in engineering and computing fields (both in academic and technical workplaces) experience a host of micro-aggressions that are adversely related to their commitment to the workplace and the profession. Consistent with the SCCT model (Lent et al., 2002), contextual influences in the form of micro-aggressions will act as barriers and exert a negative influence on choice behavior. In our study, we examined micro-aggressive behaviors in the form of two constructs: social undermining by bosses and coworkers and workplace hostility that including incivility and vicarious experience of mistreatment of women in the workplace. Undermining is defined as behavior that is “intended to hinder a targeted person's ability to establish and maintain positive interpersonal relationships, achieve work-related success, and maintain a favorable reputation” (Duffy, Ganster, & Pagan, 2002, p. 332). It could be initiated by either a supervisor or a coworker, and in our study, we examined both of these sources. Another form of micro- aggressive behavior is workplace hostility which included both overt acts and secondary (or vicarious) effects that are indicative of the “interpersonal climate for women” (Miner-Rubino & Cortina, 2007, p. 1255). According to Miner-Rubino and Cortina (2007) such interpersonal climate is comprised of overt expressions of hostility such as workplace incivility (Giacalone & Greenberg, 1997). Andersson and Pearson (1999) defined workplace incivility as “low intensity deviant behavior with ambiguous intent to harm the target, in violation of workplace norms for mutual respect.” (p. 457). Miner-Rubino and Cortina's (2007) research also included vicarious experience of mistreatment of women in the workplace as another component of workplace hostility. Such vicarious or ‘bystander’ experiences of mistreatment include witnessing or hearing about sexual harassment of a female coworker (K. T. Schneider, 1996). Several studies have documented a plethora of negative outcomes associated with micro-aggressive behaviors at work, including impaired concentration, productivity declines, greater turnover cognitions, lower job satisfaction, and actual turnover (e.g., Cortina et al., 2001, Miner-Rubino and Cortina, 2007 and Pearson et al., 2000). We also examined additional workplace barriers in the form of three role stressors: role ambiguity, role overload, and role conflict. Role ambiguity refers to vague or unclear expectations of employees' performance (Katz & Kahn, 1978) and role overload occurs when role responsibilities are greater than what individuals' abilities and motivation can handle in a reasonable amount of time (Spector & Jex, 1998). Role conflict occurs when employees deal with incompatible expectations such that compliance with one expectation makes it difficult to fulfill other role requirements. All three types of role stressors have been linked to a variety of negative psychological, somatic, and attitudinal outcomes (e.g., Gilboa et al., 2008 and Jackson and Schuler, 1985). Research has also found support for the relationship between job stressors and career withdrawal intentions for engineers (e.g., Aryee, 1993) and nurses (e.g., Blau, 1987). In light of the accumulated theoretical and empirical evidence, we propose that women who leave engineering will differ from their counterparts who stay based on their experiences of organizational barriers such as micro-aggressions and role stressors. Hypothesis 4. : Women who leave engineering have experienced greater levels of barriers than women who stay in the field.
  25. 25. SCCT theory (Lent et al., 2002) states that contextual influences in the form of supports are positively related to choice behavior. This view is also aligned with the organizational support theory advanced by Eisenberger, Huntington, Hutchison, and Sowa (1986) that posits that employees who encounter a supportive climate at work will be more satisfied and committed to their jobs, and less likely to consider quitting their organizations. Kossek, Pichler, Bodner, and Hammer (2011), define workplace social support as the “degree to which individuals perceive that their well-being is valued by workplace sources, such as supervisors and the broader organization in which they are embedded, and the perception that these sources provide help to support this well-being” (p. 292). Workplace social support includes having the support to balance work and family obligations, being recognized for one's contributions, offered opportunities for recognition, promotion, and training and development. Support can emerge from different sources (e.g., supervisors and coworkers) and can vary in terms of being either “content-specific” or “content-general” (Kossek et al., 2011). As the term suggests, content specific support is evident when employees perceive their supervisors and organizations as caring for their well-being and providing them with resources to address particular role demands. Content general support is characterized by general expressions of care for employees' well-being and provision of relational and/or tangible support to them. In this study, we assessed content general support in terms of perceived organization support (POS), and supervisors' and coworkers' social support. These forms of social support reflect general expressions of (relational and socio-emotional) care toward the focal employees as well as provisions of tangible assistance to them. Perceived organization support can also reflect a more domain-specific form (Allen, 2001 and Kossek et al., 2011), captured in this study, through the lens of work–family culture. Work–family culture (Thompson, Beauvais, & Lyness, 1999) taps into employees' perceptions that their supervisors and organizations are supportive of their need to effectively fulfill both work and family roles. It reflects perceptions that managers care about their subordinates' work–family well-being and provide help, flexibility, and access to resources that ensures they can effectively fulfill their work–family responsibilities. Another content specific form of support examined in this study reflects an organization's practices that encourage employees' professional development and advancement. Provision of training and development programs and advancement opportunities signal to employees that their organizations care enough about their professional growth and well-being to invest in them. In this study, we examined if women who stayed in engineering differed from those who left engineering on a range of content general and content specific workplace social support such as perceived organization support, manager and coworker support, supportive work–family culture, advancement opportunities, and training and development opportunities. Several studies have documented the positive relationship between perceived organizational support and lower turnover intentions and higher organizational commitment (e.g., Eisenberger et al., 1986 and Shore and Wayne, 1993). Similarly, scholars have pointed that organizations that invest in their employees' training and development, reap the benefits in terms of more positive job attitudes, loyalty, and persistence (Wayne, Shore, & Liden, 1997). Another form of organizational support that has shown a positive relationship with favorable employee attitudes is the supervisors' and coworkers support, in general, as well as supervisors'
  26. 26. consideration of their employees' work-life obligations and responsibilities. For example, studies have shown that managers' support for employees' work-life roles was related to greater commitment and lower turnover intentions (Allen, 2001 and Hammer et al., 2009). With a few exceptions (e.g., Blau, 2007), it should be noted that the relationship between supportive organizational practices and climate and occupational withdrawal has seldom been explored. We argue that employees may interpret organizational practices, especially around pivotal issues like professional growth, development, advancement, and work-life balance, to be emblematic of practices that are industry and occupation wide. If employees judge that changing organizations will not alleviate their unsatisfying and unsupportive work conditions, then they are more likely to leave a particular occupation than persist in it. Indeed, the engineering occupation has one of the highest rates of occupational turnover compared to other professions (Preston, 2004). Whether this turnover is to some degree in response to unsupportive work practices and culture is not fully known and this study seeks to address this gap in our understanding. Based on the aforementioned theory and supporting research, we offer the following hypothesis: Hypothesis 5. : Women who leave engineering have experienced lower levels of workplace social support than women who stay in the field. 2.2. Model of career change While the SCCT offers a useful framework to assess the personal and contextual factors that possibly distinguish employees who persist or withdraw from a particular occupational field, it does not identify any attitudinal or affective factors that drive many turnover decisions. The negative relationship between intentions to leave the organization and/or the profession and employee attitudes such as job satisfaction and organizational commitment is one of the most enduring research findings across many occupations and industries (Holtom, Mitchell, Lee, & Eberly, 2008). These linkages form the core of Rhodes and Doering's model of career change as well as other well-established turnover theories (e.g., Mobley et al., 1979 and Hom and Griffeth, 1995). In this study, we used Rhodes and Doering's (1983) integrated model of career change to supplement and extend Lent et al.'s (1994) Social Cognitive Career Theory to identify the affective and attitudinal factors that distinguish women engineers who persisted in engineering from their counterparts who left engineering. Rhodes and Doering, in offering their model of voluntary career change, identified job dissatisfaction as a key driver of employees' intentions to voluntarily move to “a new occupation that is not part of a typical career progression” (pg. 631). They suggested that person– environment discorrespondence can lead to lower affective reactions toward one's job and attachment to the organization. They further noted that organizational factors influence intentions to leave one's occupation and/or change careers for employees who believe that changing jobs, but not changing occupations, will not alleviate the basic drivers of job dissatisfaction. Limited research on occupational change supports the relationship between occupational change intentions and behavior and satisfaction and commitment with one's occupation (e.g., Aryee, 1993, Blau, 2007, Blau, 2009 and Rhodes and Doering, 1993). In his study of medical technologists' occupational change decisions, Blau (2007) observed that employees who were dissatisfied with their current jobs were likely to change occupations, and
  27. 27. not merely leave their jobs, if they believed that their frustrations with poor pay or work conditions would also characterize other jobs and positions within the same occupation. Based on this reasoning, we propose the following: Hypothesis 6. : Women who leave engineering report lower levels of satisfaction and commitment toward their occupations than women who stay in the field. Consistent with early organizational turnover models (e.g., Mobley et al., 1979), Rhodes and Doering's (1983) model of voluntary career change suggests that intention to leave the occupation is a precursor to actual withdrawal from the occupation. This link is predicated on well-established theoretical notions (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975) and backed by empirical evidence (e.g., Griffeth, Hom, & Gaertner, 2000) that a person's intention to engage in a specific act is a direct precursor to the actual behavior. Research on occupational turnover has not received the same attention as that on organizational turnover because of the difficulties in collecting such data (Blau, 2007). Prior research on occupational turnover intentions has surveyed nurses (e.g., Nogueras, 2006), medical technologists (Blau, 2007 and Blau and Holladay, 2006), emergency medical responders (Blau et al., 2008), teachers (Rhodes & Doering, 1993), and human resource professionals (Snape & Redman, 2003). In a longitudinal study on medical technologists, Blau (2007) found that both organizational turnover intentions as well occupational turnover intentions were related to actual occupational changes. In line with the theoretical reasoning and available empirical evidence, we propose the following hypothesis: Hypothesis 7. : Women who leave engineering report higher levels of engineering turnover intentions than women who stay in the field.
  28. 28. 3b. Embracing Diversity: Showing Students the Pathway (Gary S. May, Originally published on the Dean’s blog, August 4, 2015) In the fairy tale the “Pied Piper of Hamelin,” the piper used his magical pipe to lead the rats away from the town. I often wish I had a magical pipe to lead students to exploring engineering as a major.Some say there is no shortage of engineers in the U.S. While one can discuss the merits of that argument, let’s be clear about the fact that there is a shortage of engineers from female and minority backgrounds. Diversity and inclusiveness are essential in this field – both in gender and in ethnicity. On August 4, the White House was given a letter from the American Society Engineering Education (ASEE) signed by more than 100 deans of engineering across the country. I was among the people who felt strongly enough about the subject to make sure that the White House took notice. The letter outlined our commitments to diversity and inclu- siveness; the development of K-12 or community college pipeline activities; and the implementation of strategies to increase the numbers of women and underrepresented minorities in our faculties. Most importantly, the deans agreed to hold ourselves accountable to these pledges by making sure we assess our commitments and actions to determine if we were able to bring about real change. Attracting women and minorities to engineering (and to other STEM fields), is essential to maintaining America’s position as a leader in technology innovation. With a homogeneous set of individuals on a team, potential solutions are inher- ently limited. For innovation to work well, a broad spectrum of ideas is needed. In the world of atoms and numbers, does the race or gender of the person who studies them really matter? Yes, it does. Corporate leaders tend to agree on the influence of diversity on innovation. Forbes magazine surveyed 321 big-company executives on the topic in 2011. Eighty-five percent said that “a diverse and inclusive workforce is crucial to encouraging different perspectives and ideas that drive innovation.” One company has already stepped up to assist our efforts at Georgia Tech. Intel has set an aggressive goal of dramatically increasing the diversity of its U.S. workforce and has pledged $300 million over the next five years to fund the hiring of underrepresented minorities. Georgia Tech is the first higher education institution to partner with Intel on this initiative. With Intel’s financial commitment, we expect to support 1,000 underrepresented minority students interested in engi- neering from high school through graduate school. I am proud that at Georgia Tech, we have produced the most women, African-American and minority engineers at all degree levels combined over the past decade. But we can, and will, do more. For our nation to make up ground, we need to make history. The higher education and private sectors must combine forces for the purpose of expanding the capacity of under- represented minorities and women in engineering. Stand- alone initiatives will not solve the problem. We need to coalesce around the issue, not compete with each other. If we can enhance the participation of all demographics, then the students, our institutions, and our nation will be the winners. We can lead in this initiative, but others must follow. While the magical pipe would come in handy, we will instead issue a call for action. With the proper amount of resources and national will, we can succeed. Participants in the 2015 Summer Undergraduate Research in Engineering (SURE) which is a 10-week research program designed to attract qualified minority students from across the country into graduate school in the fields of engineering and science.
  29. 29. 3c. Sexual Discrimination and Women's Retention Rates in Science and Engineering Programs- Excerpt (Theresa Conefrey,2001) Despite some evidence that women entering science, mathematics and engineering have higher average ACT and SAT test scores, women's persistence rates remain considerably lower than those of their male peers. Persistence rates, in turn, are correlated with low science grades during the first two years of undergraduate study. This finding begs the question of what causes such a decrease in science ability among talented young women during their freshman and sophomore years, women who tend not to drop out of college, but to switch majors. Since scholastic ability does not predict attrition, research is needed to discover what it is about the experience of science education that might cause talented young women to question their ability to succeed and their desire to remain in science. This paper, which focuses on undergraduate and graduate women's experiences in science and engineering programs, reveals that sexual discrimination continues to be a significant problem in science education, a problem that is often underestimated because of a variety of cultural myths. It asserts that initiatives to increase the numbers of women in science and engineering, which fail to address this problem, will not realize their desired outcomes. Women's Experiences of the Culture of Science and Science Education Research on the culture of science suggests that this male domain is less than welcoming to women.3 Evidence that this culture perpetuates discrimination against women comes from my interviews with women at different stages of their scientific careers and women who have left science, and from my two-year ethnographic study of a life-sciences laboratory.4 Other evidence comes from a recent study by Elaine Seymour and Nancy M. Hewitt, who interviewed or met in focus groups with 335 undergraduates at seven different intuitions, with the goal of discovering all the reasons leading to students' decisions to leave science. Although Seymour and Hewitt do not list sexual discrimination in their tables of factors leading to women's decisions to leave science, comments from women in their study suggest it played a role in their decision-making. Describing their experiences with science faculty, women in these studies highlight different academic standards for men and for women, different expectations of their ability, and a continual reinforcement of gender stereotypes, which work to women's disadvantage: It was common knowledge that he never gave higher than Bs to women.5 They just don't know how to act with women students. They don't know what to do with you. Their whole attitude, and facial expressions and body language says, "You belong in the kitchen. What are you doing here?" They're not allowed to say it, but you overhear it in conversations. (Seymour and Hewitt 245) He wouldn't let any of us three women use the machines. I had a friend who round the lab after class to make sure I got the hands-on experience I should have got in class. But he was real blatant about not letting women think it was okay to run the machines. (Seymour and Hewitt 244)
  30. 30. Where instructors discriminate against women, or tolerate discrimination by others, women's comments indicate that laboratory assistants and women's peers do the same. Discrimination follows along the lines noted above in addition to more off-color jokes and exclusionary practices: I was the only woman in a graduate-level physics class with seven men. They would tell jokes in bad taste, and watch to see how I handled it. Sometimes they would do really lewd things. They just did it to bother me. And if I reacted, they would laugh at me until I would just want to kill them. But the professor would just ignore it. He wouldn't intervene to stop it, or to help me. He'd just say, "Okay; let's get a move on,"- trying to make it as if nothing had happened. (Seymour and Hewitt 245) You miss having someone to talk to; it's lonely. The guys are chatting about whatever game they've seen and I'm just kind of by myself. They act like you're not there. 6 Clearly, men's inability to see beyond women's gender remains a problem for women. Faculty reinforce traditional gender stereotypes of women as wives and mothers, rather than as potential scientific colleagues, while peers focus on the issue of women's attractive- ness and evaluate them in terms of their potential as dates rather than as study partners. Expressing her frustration, Andrea Dupree, the distinguished astrophysicist observes: "They think, well, if she's married, she may have a child, or why hasn't she had a child if she's already married? If she's not married, why isn't she married? I mean, these things really occupy their time. It just outrages me" (Zuckerman, Cole, and Bruer 122). The focus on sexuality leads to a hostile, academically unproductive environment for many women. Commenting on the situation of women in graduate education, Subramaniam and Wyer write, The silences that surround issues of gender are profound and stifling. The stubborn persistence of women's second-class status in science and engineering is deeply en- tangled with unspoken, unacknowledged taken-for-granted practices in the relations between and among faculty and women graduate students. (16) The continuous focus on gender causes some women to question whether it is even possible to be a woman and a scientist Describing the challenges faced by women at MIT in the 1960s, Bix quotes a female undergraduate, who claims a woman has one "image to live up to and another to live down. She must do better than average, since the require- ments for girls to enter MIT are stiffer than for men. She must prove that, for all her supposed brains, she is still a woman, not an oversized tomboy" (31). Sadly, little has changed in 40 years. Choice of dress illustrates this challenge. On the one hand, women must dress to avoid emphasizing their sexuality to the degree that their gender becomes more salient than their ability. On the other hand, they must avoid downplaying their gender to the extent that they are criticized by their peers (male and female) for being unfeminine and unattractive. The issue of being found unattractive is of even greater consequence for women than their male peers because of what Dorothy Holland and Mar- garet Eisenhart have termed the "culture of romance." According to their research and that of Penny Eckert, men and women accrue prestige from their peers in very different ways. 172 For men, academic ability and athletic performance are key; for women, sexual attractive- ness, as evidenced by participation in social activities and ability to attract a high ranking male are what counts. Ironically, as women negotiate their identities as women and as scientists, they face the contradictory male attitudes that on the one hand, they are unattractive,
  31. 31. and yet, on the other hand, they only succeed because of their sexuality: What it comes down to is the pretty girls do something else, and the brainy girls stay in engineering- and I think that goes beyond engineering... that's just a cultural thing. (Seymour and Hewitt 248) We were at a party recently and another engineer in her class asked my friend, "So are you sleeping with the professor? Is that how you do it7" (Seymour and Hewitt 243) The focus on sexuality, as well as causing identity conflicts, leads to women's exclusion from learning opportunities that are available to male students. Women who are excluded from study groups, or are afraid to go to observatories or laboratories at night, miss out on the learning opportunity such activities provide. Likewise, women who are not invited by male faculty to take part in field work or share hotel rooms for fear of tarnishing the faculty member's reputation, lose out on both the learning experience and informal networking opportunities. Another consequence of sex discrimination is that it may lead to low self-esteem and plummeting self-confidence. Women's extrinsic sense of self leaves them more dependent on approval from others and more vulnerable to criticism and isolation than their male peers, who can more easily dismiss criticism. Even women with strong academic back- grounds who are told by their professors in science courses that they are academically weak come to see themselves that way. As a woman's self-confidence plummets, her academic performance can suffer, which can exacerbate her doubts further about whether she be- longs in science. Plummeting self-esteem and poorer grades coupled with isolation can, in turn, lead to depression and intensified feelings of self-doubt, sometimes culminating in a decision to drop out: They made me feel that whatever went wrong in the lab was my fault Guys can easily brush off criticism, but I started to believe them, and wonder if maybe I wasn't cut out for it after all. Sometimes I really doubted myself in classes... And I started wondering, "Why aren't there any women here?" and thinking, "Do I really belong here?" (Seymour and Hewitt 309) As illustrated by the accounts above, whether or not women tell themselves or others that they are leaving science because of sexual discrimination, it appears to play a role. It seems probable that discriminatory behavior over time can wear them down, leading them to question their abilities and desire to remain in science. It can precipitate an identity crisis, loss of self-esteem and self-confidence, depression, reduced opportunities to participate in the community of science, and doubt about belonging. Yet many questions remain: How widespread is sexual discrimination? How large a role does it play in women's decision-making processes? What is its impact on women's attrition rates? Women's accounts of their experience with faculty and their peers suggest that sexual discrimination is a fact of life for many women. Conclusion The language of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is as follows: No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance
  32. 32. Yet, almost 30 years later, gender equity has not been achieved. Discrimination leads to alienation, isolation, loss of confidence, and, directly or indirectly, to a higher attrition rate. Organizational hierarchies, processes, practices, and distributions of power contain deeply embedded assumptions about gender that limit women's opportunities and enhance men's occupational status. The National Science Foundation finds that after correcting for age, experience, and education, discrimination remains the only explanation for women and minorities' lack of progress in the sciences (Schiebinger Has Feminism Changed Science? 37). The scope of success of Title IX is limited by the gap between the prohibition against sexual discrimination and the eradication of the practice. Moreover, some of the barriers faced by women in science are either so subtle or so deeply entrenched that they are difficult to dismantle, even when there is organizational commitment to do so. Due to intentional or unintentional resistance, gender equity may hinge in the short term upon political means such as monitoring, reporting, sanctioning, and enforcement by regulatory agencies of institutions that receive federal grants and awards. In conclusion, while acknowledging the difficulties of accurately assessing the impact of discrimination on women's retention rates, this paper has asserted that because of a wide variety of myths, the significance of discrimination continues to be underestimated. While intensifying recruitment and improving academic preparation are key to increasing women's enrollment, science and engineering programs that fail to address the issue of sex discrimination and perpetuate "science as usual" will not realize their full potential in retaining women. Note: Please see bibliography to view full article 3d. Attracting More Women to Study STEM In A World Full Of Geek Dude Stereotypes (Michelle Cheng) The percentage of women receiving bachelor’s degrees in computer science and engineering remain low at 20% and below (Shutterstock) Half of all science and engineering degrees are earned by women. Does this signal gender equality in STEM? Many experts and advocates say it doesn’t. While the critical mass of women in biosciences and social sciences remain high – between 49% and 58% – the proportion of female students who earn bachelor’s degrees in engineering (20%) is bleak. It’s an even lower percentage of women in computer science, according to a National Science Foundation report from 2015. Women often turn away from these heavily-male dominated fields because they don’t feel as though they fit or look like they belong, according to a 2015 study from the American Association of University Women (AAUW), pointing specifically to stereotypes, biases, curriculum and environment as factors holding back women’s full participation. It doesn’t help when the portrayal of computer programmer in mainstream culture tends to be unrepresentative of women. Being the face of CS is rare for a woman. If you look up “programmer” on Google GOOGL +21.92% Images, you’ll have to scroll a long time before you see the first image with a woman in it. The highly-acclaimed HBO show Silicon Valley follows a group of nerdy, male programmers in a startup company. Back in real life, only one-quarter of speakers at top tech events are women.
  33. 33. “The images in media sort of celebrate the young geeky male,” says Maria Klawe, the well- respected president of Harvey Mudd College and a computer scientist by training. “There is typically a small number almost always of male students who have been programming at a very early age. Everyone, the parents, students then think of computer as a boy thing, [but] girls use computers and iPads and smartphones as much as boys do.” The AAUW study also reveals that when it came to career goals, women are more likely than men to prioritize helping and working with other people; thus, they often turn away from engineering and computing jobs, which are often perceived as being solitary occupations. Incorporating communal aspects into the curriculum and outside the classroom can increase the appeal of those fields to communally-oriented people, many of whom are women. In the class of 2016, Dartmouth College became the first national research university to graduate more women (54%) than men in its engineering department. What could account for its success? Joseph J. Helble, the dean of Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth, says that he believes their overall approach to teaching engineering is what’s attracting women to their program, which is creating a more collaborative, applicable environment and a supportive network. Collaborating for Success Dartmouth places a huge emphasis on hands-on, project-based learning, from the very first engineering class. “We give all students, including non-engineering majors, the chance to take project-based design courses alongside of engineering majors, which encourages some students who did not initially think of themselves as engineers to explore engineering,” says Helble. “We also encourage them to see engineering, broadly, as a collaborative enterprise focused on solving real-world challenges.” In addition, the university – where the male to female ratio is 51:49 – places a high priority in integrating liberal art skills with engineering, to help them understand and communicate the problems they will face as engineers.
  • AlexandriaGlaize

    Oct. 7, 2016
  • DS26

    Oct. 6, 2016

Background Briefing

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