Engineering Co-Curricular Role Model Interventions to Develop Women Engineering Students Self-Efficacy at a South African Comprehensive University

Abstract

Women engineers face often negative stereotypes regarding their competence in the workplace. In the same way, women engineering students face various identity and professional obstacles in their study environment that may affect their feelings of self-efficacy. Furthermore, as the engineering environment is often described as �a man�s world�, engineering is often perceived as a man�s job. Therefore, women are often deprived of women role models in engineering disciplines. Role models can have a positive influence on attitudes, identification with, and intent to pursue a career in the engineering field. This paper is a qualitative, descriptive and interpretive study of the rationale and operational aspects of the Women in Engineering Leadership Association (WELA) co-curricular interventions to expose WELA members to role models and to create the opportunity for WELA members to be role models. The objectives of this paper are to provide suggestions for the design of co-curricular role-model interventions and to provide insight into the process of developing such co-curricular interventions specifically for women engineering students. It is envisaged that these co-curricular interventions can be implemented at universities and higher education institutions concerned with improving the self-efficacy of women in engineering and other non-traditional employment fields for women.



Author Information
Ann S Lourens, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Paper Information
Conference: ECE2014
Stream: STEM (science

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