Purpose – Women remain dramatically underrepresented in the engineering profession and far fewer women than men persist in the field. This study aims to identify individual and contextual factors that distinguish women who persist in engineering careers in the US. Design/methodology/approach – Qualitative research was conducted based on semi‐structured interviews with 31 women engineers, ten of whom had left an engineering career and 21 persisting for on average 21 years. The interviews were recorded, transcribed, coded and analyzed. Findings – Women who persisted in engineering careers articulated high levels of self efficacy, described themselves in terms of their identity as an engineer, and were motivated by the challenges and novelty of the profession. Women engineers' ability to adapt enabled them to persist and thrive despite working in a male‐dominated culture characterized by difficulties associated with the workplace, including discrimination. Women who opted out of engineering were less likely to recognize options in navigating the workplace and some felt as if they were pushed into engineering. Persistent engineers were less likely to be married and had fewer children. Research limitations/implications – Although appropriate for an inductive study using a grounded theory approach the sample was small and the data was self reported. Practical implications – A model is developed that integrates individual and contextual factors explaining a woman's persistence in an engineering career and has potential to explain persistence in other professions. To retain more women in engineering careers, organizations and managers should provide opportunities to develop identified skills within the professional domain and should provide opportunities for women engineers that provide continuous learning, on‐going challenges and novel work. Originality/value – Although numerous studies have addressed the retention of women in academic engineering programs and several recent studies have described why women leave engineering careers, the novelty of this study is that it addresses why women stay.
Career Development International – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 17, 2013
Keywords: Women engineers; Career decisions; Persistence; STEM women; Women; United States of America
It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.
Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.
All for just $49/month
Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly
Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.
Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.
Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.
All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.
“Hi guys, I cannot tell you how much I love this resource. Incredible. I really believe you've hit the nail on the head with this site in regards to solving the research-purchase issue.”Daniel C.
“Whoa! It’s like Spotify but for academic articles.”@Phil_Robichaud
“I must say, @deepdyve is a fabulous solution to the independent researcher's problem of #access to #information.”@deepthiw
“My last article couldn't be possible without the platform @deepdyve that makes journal papers cheaper.”@JoseServera