Great progress, great divide: The need for evolution of the recruitment model for women in engineering

Jennifer Gilley, Joan Begolly

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Despite years of recruitment efforts, the percentage of engineering bachelor's degrees awarded to women in the U.S. still hovers at only 18%, and the percentage of degrees awarded in engineering technology stands at 16%. The question then remains, what keeps high school girls from choosing engineering or engineering technology as a potential career path? Or conversely, for those girls who do consider engineering and technology, what is motivating them to do so? We surveyed the participants in an on-campus outreach program at Penn State New Kensington entitled Females Interested in Reaching for Science, Technology, and Engineering (FIRSTE) to garner information about demographics, influences, and perceptions that may have enabled their consideration of a scientific/engineering career. To determine their uniqueness, we administered the same survey to a control group of college students in non-scientific and non-engineering fields. The differences in background influences between the two groups were subtler than predicted, but the perceptions of both groups about engineering were enlightening. We found that although great progress has been made in eliminating certain disadvantages that keep girls from entering the science and engineering pipeline, the great divide between girls and engineering remains due to a lack of familiarity with the nature and possibilities of engineering and engineering technology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7003-7013
Number of pages11
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005
Event2005 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: The Changing Landscape of Engineering and Technology Education in a Global World - Portland, OR, United States
Duration: Jun 12 2005Jun 15 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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