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

ISSN Print: 1072-8325
ISSN Online: 1940-431X

Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.v5.i2.60
pages 183-205


Charlene A. Yauch
University of Wisconsin-Madison


Although the proportion of women in engineering has increased tremendously in the past 30 years, engineering remains one of the least popular fields for women. This article explores reasons why men and women decide to major in engineering.
National surveys from the high school classes of 1982 and 1992 were analyzed to identify the significant factors that determined whether an engineering major was selected. The results show that the most significant determinant of selecting an engineering major is gender. Other variables, such as high school coursetaking and family/career orientation, did not distinguish the differences between men and women. However, the study indicates that some advanced math and science courses (geometry, chemistry, and calculus) are more important determinants for women.