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A review of influencing factors for selection of engineering pathway for women: A case study of females studying engineering at Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec), New Zealand


[thumbnail of paper published in the Proceedings of the Canadian Engineering Education Association (CEEA) Conference] PDF (paper published in the Proceedings of the Canadian Engineering Education Association (CEEA) Conference)
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Females are underrepresented in engineering cohorts in New Zealand. The lack of female participation in engineering fields at the tertiary education level has been a barrier for diversity and equality in both the industry and academic professions. A recent study by Docherty et al. [11] noted girls coming to engineering at Canterbury University, New Zealand are more likely to be from a single sex school and this phenomenon can be due to cultural reasons. They identified that future work is needed to look at the cultural changes in New Zealand which could potentially mitigate the gender bias.
However, we first need to identify a range of contributing factors (including cultural issues) for the lack of diversity in engineering schools in New Zealand. By identifying these factors, we can then propose and implement necessary remediation actions to address the lack of female participation in engineering. Common influencing factors for female participation in STEM and selection of engineering pathways were found during a review of literature and included parental and teacher influences, self-efficacy, perception and attitude, gender stereotypes, and peer and media influences. We believe that New Zealand context in terms of how it influences female study and career pathway to engineering has not been well studied and documented to date. The objective of this research is to identify the main factors and cultural issues that contribute to low female participation in engineering studies in New Zealand.
We carried out individual and focus group interviews on both domestic and international female students at Wintec enrolled in the Diploma, Bachelor of Engineering Technology and Graduate Diploma programmes in Civil Engineering. The interviews helped us to understand our students’ perspectives around the factors that influenced their study decisions. We used the collected data to identify patterns and generate themes.

Item Type: Item presented at a conference, workshop or other event, and published in the proceedings
Uncontrolled Keywords: Influencing factors, Female, Engineering, diversity, Wintec, New Zealand
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions: Schools > Centre for Engineering and Industrial Design
Depositing User: Sarla Kumari
Date Deposited: 08 Jul 2020 21:12
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2023 08:52

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