Gender Disparity in Engineering as a Function of Physics Enrollment and Its Implications for Civil Engineering

TitleGender Disparity in Engineering as a Function of Physics Enrollment and Its Implications for Civil Engineering
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsLaefer, DF
JournalJournal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education & Practice
Date Published2009
Publication Languageeng
ISBN Number10523928
KeywordsCivil , COLLEGE , ENGINEERING , Mathematics , Study , undergraduate , Universities , Women , workplace
AbstractDespite tremendous advances by women in the natural and applied sciences, where in selective fields women have surpassed men in the earning of doctoral degrees for more nearly 20 years, female enrollment levels in engineering continue to be a fraction of male enrollment. Gender disparities of more than 60% persist in undergraduate engineering enrollments and have recently worsened. As American female civil engineering enrollment has been flat for over 25 years, efforts must be taken to understand this stasis. This paper focuses primarily on secondary education preparation in terms of both attitudes toward and enrollment levels in preengineering courses such as calculus, chemistry, and physics.  This paper concludes that secondary school participation and achievement in physics courses is a critical differential factor as one explanatory element of female engineering enrollment levels and provides specific recommendations as to how to increase interest, enrollment, and achievement in physics, including the segregation of entry-level engineering courses based on previous experience. 
NotesLaefer, Debra F. 1; Email Address:; Affiliation: 1: Tenured Lecturer, Head of Urban Modelling Group, School of Architecture, Landscape and Civil Engineering, Univ. College Dublin, Newstead, G-25, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland; Source Info: Jul2009, Vol. 135 Issue 3, p95; Subject Term: CIVIL engineering -- Study & teaching; Subject Term: UNIVERSITIES & colleges -- Admission; Subject Term: WOMEN engineering students; Subject Term: COLLEGE preparation programs; Subject Term: ENGINEERING; Subject Term: STUDY & teaching (Higher); Author-Supplied Keyword: Engineering education; Author-Supplied Keyword: Mathematics; Author-Supplied Keyword: Undergraduate study; Author-Supplied Keyword: Women; Author-Supplied Keyword: Workplace diversity; NAICS/Industry Codes: 611310 Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools; Number of Pages: 7p; Illustrations: 2 Charts, 7 Graphs; Document Type: Article