Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Unpacking the STEM Gender Gap: Pre-career Barriers and Enablers Elicited from Female Engineers and Computer Scientists
by Woo, Paul Pui-Wei, Ed.D., Concordia University Irvine, 2019, 157; 27666540
Abstract (Summary)

For a number of years, the United States has recognized the shortage of individuals in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Programs and initiatives have been created and implemented (Karahan et al., 2015), STEM curricula have been developed by middle and high schools (Christensen, Knezek, & Tyler-Wood, 2015), and funding has been directed by the government to increase presence in these areas. Despite these efforts, the disparity in the number of women in specific STEM careers, particularly, engineering and computer science persists.

The purpose of this mixed methods phenomenological study is to determine why women are underrepresented in engineering and computer science, and to determine the positive motivators and barriers that women in the field have experienced. By determining these positive factors and barriers, we may develop programs and procedures that will encourage young women and help them to achieve success in attaining a career in engineering or computer science. The current study was guided by three research questions. An online researcher-constructed questionnaire was administered to STEM practitioners in 100 organizations and follow-up interviews were conducted with a small subsample of the participants. The responses were categorized as positive factors or negative barriers. There were 102 positive factors identified which were categorized into 12 groups. Chi-squares were run to find the attainment of CSE and NON-CSE careers by gender yielding a statistically significant result. ANOVAs were also run to determine the statistical significance of the influence of various motivating factors by gender. Based on the results of the study, recommendations for policies were made that can bring equity for women in the fields of engineering and computer science.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kim, Eugene
Commitee: Kenney, John, Swamidass, Josh
School: Concordia University Irvine
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 81/6(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Computer science, Womens studies, Engineering, Science education
Keywords: Computer science, Engineering, STEM, Women
Publication Number: 27666540
ISBN: 9781392474884
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