Women in industrial engineering: Stereotypes, persistence, and perspectives (Brawner & Camacho 2012)
Brawner, C., & Camacho, M. (2012). Women in industrial engineering: Stereotypes, persistence, and perspectives. Journal of Engineering Education, 101(2), 288-318.
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- This study explored why more women major in industrial engineering in college than other engineering fields.
- The authors tabulated quantitative data from eight colleges and universities in the southeastern region of the United States using data from the Multiple-Institution Database for Investigating Engineering Longitudinal Development (MIDFIELD). They also conducted focus groups with 20 female industrial engineering students and qualitatively analyzed the content of industrial engineering department websites at the eight MIDFIELD institutions.
- The study found that students transferred into an industrial engineering major program after taking several semesters of coursework in another field at the university. It found no evidence that women with weak academic records were more likely to choose industrial engineering over other engineering majors.
- Focus group participants felt that their department had a warm, familial atmosphere, and that the major provided a more general background in engineering, which could offer them more flexible job opportunities in a variety of related fields. This was consistent with departmental websites, which marketed themselves as having a strong sense of community and collegiality, and stressed the wide range of career opportunities available to their graduates as problem solvers for society and industry.