Gendered by Design: The Socialization of Women in Engineering School

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Lauch, Katarina Maria




The under-representation of women in engineering is a well-known phenomenon. This study explores the potential role of university experiences in derailing the journey of would-be female engineers, focusing on how engineering school may socialize women in ways that discourage them from the field. Semi-structured interviews with 16 female Ontario university undergraduate engineering students were conducted and were analyzed from a feminist epistemological standpoint, privileging the experiences and voices of participants. Organizational socialization, gender socialization, and social identity theories guided the identification of important themes and issues. Results suggest that women are receiving information pertaining to the proficiencies, people, politics, and organizational goals and values of this space, potentially shaping their self- and field-based perceptions in negative ways. Many participants expressed pessimistic views about engineering, and often alluded to and discussed sexism. Some women also expressed feelings of visibility, discomfort, and/or feeling "unsafe".


Gender Studies
Women's Studies




Carleton University

Thesis Degree Name: 

Master of Arts: 

Thesis Degree Level: 


Thesis Degree Discipline: 

Women's and Gender Studies

Parent Collection: 

Theses and Dissertations

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