"No one said girls could do engineering": a fresh look at an old problem

Jane Andrews, Robin Clark

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputConference publication


Previous work has drawn attention to what, in many respects, appears to be an insurmountable problem, the lack of women and girls in engineering. The debate about why young women are not attracted to engineering mostly focuses around issues of gender, with the profession stereotypically perceived as being more suitable for men. In seeking to investigate why this should be the case a participatory research approach was adopted in which two 17 year old female High School students were employed to interview their peers about their perceptions of engineering as a career. This paper presents some of the emergent findings of this research.
In total twenty teenage girls from two city centre Schools were interviewed. The two teenage researchers developed the questions themselves, focusing on issues they identified as being important factors informing girls’ views of engineering. This approach provided a ‘new’ perspective – looking at the topic through the eyes of the target sample group. By drawing attention to some of the issues around gender and engineering, this paper contributes to current debates in this area – in doing so it provides a fresh look at an old problem and offers some workable solutions for ‘how to get more girls into engineering’.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConference proceedings for EE2012
Subtitle of host publicationinnovation, practice and research in engineering education
PublisherHigher Education Academy
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-907632-16-7
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventInternational conference on innovation, practice and research in Engineering Education - Coventry, United Kingdom
Duration: 18 Sept 201220 Sept 2012


ConferenceInternational conference on innovation, practice and research in Engineering Education
Abbreviated titleEE 2012
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

Bibliographical note

Copyright © September 2012, authors as listed at the start of this paper. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)


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