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We invite you to use the Women in STEM Knowledge Center (WSKC) to find information resources specific to the issues and practices of advancing women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

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Articles/Reports

“Thinking inside of the box”: retention of women in engineering

The paper describes an effort at Penn State Altoona to address the issue of low retention of women in science and engineering. This effort also was designed to contribute to the long-term advancement of women in these fields throughout their careers. The approach taken is to challenge women students to recognize their beliefs and self perceptions regarding their relationship with engineering and thus provide them with the opportunity for positive change. As a consequence, their actions have...

“Naming the Complexity”: Women’s Experience and the Holistic Assessment of Technology

This paper focuses on a little known account of the impact of technology on women, which was authored by the German feminist Louise Otto (1819-1895). Otto was a journalist, poet, novelist, social activitst, and an astute observer and a skillful rhetorician. Her book "The Life of Women in the German Empire" (1876) provides a model of an holistic approach to the assessment of technology and furnishes guidance as to how we can grasp yet still manage the complexity involved in the...

“It kind of chose me”: Agency and Influence in Women’s Decisions to Major in Engineering

This paper explores the attraction of students to engineering in a private liberal arts college for women. The authors investigate how expressions of agency are embedded in narratives that often explicitly underscore the influence of others.

‘Nuts and Bolts and People’: Gender-Troubled Engineering Identities

This ethnographic study of building design engineers uses interviews with engineers to explore the definition of engineering as "nuts and bolts and people", addressing the two aspects of engineering: the technical and the social. The two are qualitatively blended together to explore where the line between these two aspects occurs.

Zero to 36% in Thirty Years – A History of Female Undergraduates at Caltech

This study examines the steady increase in female undergraduate enrollment at Caltech. The nature of this increase, the driving factors behind it, and the portion of the female population in engineering at the Institute over time are investigated and compared to both total Institute population and national norms. The author hopes to quantify the enrollment gains for undergraduate women at Caltech, to determine whether the increases have been homogenous across fields of study, and also to...

Young Women, Sports, and Science

This article examines young women's access to two traditionally male domains, sport and science, from two perspectives. Data from the nationally representative High School and Beyond (HSB) and National Educational Longitudinal Study (NELS) were used to explore the relationship between involvement in sports and success in science for high school aged women. Findings suggest that sports participation provides a unique resource for young women especially with regard to science attitudes and...

Young girls’ arithmetic and spatial skills: The distal and proximal roles of family socioeconomics and home learning experiences

This study addressed girls’ early numerical and spatial reasoning skills, within the context of a critical environment in which these cognitive skills develop, namely their homes. Specifically, proximal links between distal family socioeconomic conditions and first-grade girls’ arithmetic and spatial skills were examined. The proximal roles of two factors were considered: the general learning characteristics of girls’ homes, and the kinds of math and spatial learning activities in which girls...

You Can Be Anything – Women and Technology Video

This paper discusses a video produced by the Center for Women and Information Technology (CWIT) at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) and funded through the National Science Foundation. CWIT sought to develop a video that would use the power of media to give young people, particularly girls and young women, a very positive impression of the career opportunities for women that are now available in all fields. Further, the video would focus on the importance of learning about...

Workshop Classroom Border Crossings: Incorporating Feminist and Liberative Pedagogies in your CSET Classroom

This paper describes a workshop in which participants explore the use of feminist and liberative pedagogies in CSET classrooms. These pedagogies are founded on the ideals of social justice and democracy. The workshop will include discussions of classroom management strategies, critiques and redesign of the engineering process, and assessment and evaluation of student learning. Participants will leave the workshop with a list of concrete ideas for implementing feminist and liberative...

Workplace Environments that Hinder and Assist the Career Progression of Women in Information Technology

The purpose of this study was to develop an understanding of the workplace environment characteristics that hinder and assist the career progression of women in information technology. The findings revealed that the workplace environment and culture characteristics identified by the women in information technology have both positive and negative aspects. This study examined both the positive and negative roles that workplace environment and culture play in the career development of women in...

Workplace Environment is Prime Reason Women Leave Engineering

The article from SWE Magazine summarizes a study titled "Stemming the Tide: Why Women Leave Engineering" made possible by a National Science Foundation grant. The study disclosed that women with engineering degrees leave their field because of inhospitable work environment. The money and effort channeled to encourage women to pursue engineering are reportedly undermined by the workplace culture.

Workplace Culture that Hinders and Assists the Career Development of Women in Information Technology

This study examines both the positive and negative roles that workplace culture plays in the career development of women in information technology (IT). The literature has described the IT workplace culture as having certain characteristics that are unique to the industry and unique to White male culture.

Work-Life: Prevalence, Utilization, and Benefits

A 7 page overview of statistics related to work-life balance, gathered from multiple organizations and government agencies. Includes statistics on flexibility in working arrangements, child care, elder care, dual-career couples, and benefits to organizations. Excellent information for benchmarking or for highlights for presentations on work-life balance. For industry and the workforce.

Work-Life Spillover and Job Satisfaction of Married/Partnered Faculty Members

This study analyzes questionnaire data gathered from married or partnered, tenured and tenure-track faculty at a research university to identify personal, institutional, and nonwork factors that explain perceptions about work-life spillover and, secondly, the relationship of spillover, personal, institutional, and nonwork factors to overall job satisfaction. A combination of personal and environmental climate variables explained 48% of the variance in work-life spillover and 60% of the...

Work in progress: A STEM educational outreach day for young females

This paper discusses an outreach day at Duke University called FEMMES (females excelling more in math, engineering, and science). FEMMES is an annual free, one-day event, which provides an exciting, hands-on experience for 4th-6th grade girls to encourage them to further explore their potential in these fields. To assess the program's effectiveness, surveys were completed by participants before and after the event.

Work in progress- a study of how real world engineering experience can affect women's academic career

Growing evidence has suggested that industry-sponsored project experience, where the student is paid, can provide students with a real-world perspective that enhances the students' academic experience. This experience is particularly valuable for female students because women may have less real-world exposure to applications in their chosen career path compared to their male counterparts. Sometimes internship experiences can be a negative experience for female students. The working...

Work in progress — Women in Computing Honors Course

This paper presents the author's experience in teaching an Honors course, Women in Computing, that was offered for the first time in Fall 2009. The course is cross listed with Women's Studies and provides Honors students with interdisciplinary experience. This course provides an opportunity for students to learn about pioneering women of computing and their contribution into computing field, as well as modern trends and modern gender issues in computer science. The course also...

Work in progress — Tracking the success of African American women undergraduates majoring in engineering

This paper discusses the progress of African American women toward undergraduate degrees in any of the engineering disciplines. This work in progress examines the following questions: 1) What are the women's reasons for selecting engineering? 2) Having chosen to remain in engineering, what strategies are assisting them in their efforts to succeed and excel? And 3) What are the issues that are of special concern to them as African American women who have chosen a field of study that has...

Work in progress — Flexibility and career opportunity as motivation for women selecting industrial engineering majors

This work in progress explores qualitatively why women choose to major in industrial engineering and remain there. Through two focus groups with undergraduate women industrial engineering majors at an historically black university and a predominantly white institution, authors found the follwing primary themes: students chose their institution for its reputation; students chose to major in industrial engineering because they believed it a) was less technical and more like business, b) had a...
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