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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
SJR: 0.468 SNIP: 0.671 CiteScore™: 1.65

ISSN Imprimir: 1072-8325
ISSN En Línea: 1940-431X

Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.2018020527
pages 339-360

PREDICTING COLLEGE WOMEN'S PERCEPTIONS OF A FUTURE IN ENGINEERING BY THEIR EXPERIENCES OF MICROAGGRESSIONS, IDENTITY MANAGEMENT, AND SELF-EFFICACY IN COLLEGE ENGINEERING

Dara Naphan-Kingery
Vanderbilt University, 2201 West End Ave, Nashville, Tennessee 37235, USA
Marta Elliott
University of Nevada, Reno, 1664 N Virginia St, Reno, Nevada 89557, USA

SINOPSIS

This purpose of this study on college women majoring in engineering was to examine how their experience of gender microaggressions, the centrality of their identities as women and as engineers, and their strategic management of these identities predicted their self-efficacy and perceived future of graduating and seeking a career in engineering. Survey data were collected from 404 female undergraduate engineering students from two mid-sized universities in the Western U.S. and analyzed with confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling. Results suggested that women's engineering identity centrality, or the importance they placed on being engineering students to their self-concept, was beneficial for their perceived persistence in the field; whereas their gender identity centrality, or the importance they placed on being women, was problematic. However, identity management partially mitigated these associations. Engineering identity centrality predicted social recategorization, which is characterized by blending in with men and de-emphasizing one's gender. In contrast, gender identity centrality predicted positive distinctiveness, a strategy that is typified by attempts to improve men's perceptions of women. Social recategorization had no apparent benefits as an identity management strategy, whereas positive distinctiveness indirectly predicted increased likelihood of persistence via self-efficacy. The implications of these two strategies are discussed.