Socialization of Girls in the US Away From Science and Engineering Professions 1950 200 Term Paper

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Historically and traditionally women have not entered into educational pursuits or the professions of science and engineering at the same rate as have men and in fact women who do enter these programs of study or profession, are known to leave this educational field of study or profession in the science and engineering fields due to other responsibilities in life such as family and children.


Human capital theory has its roots in the work conducted by Petty and Smith, both British economists and was developed fully by Becker and Schultz and posits that the expenses for training and education are costly and therefore should be viewed as an investment. The work entitled: "Gender Differences in the Careers of Academic Scientists and Engineers: A Literature Review" relates that Human capital is: "...the set of skills and abilities that enable individuals to perform jobs." (2003) Generally, the individuals stock of human capital may be added to or acquired through the means of education and through training. The Human Capital theory is an economic theory, which posits that the investment of training and education results in realization of future benefits related to earnings and other benefits associated with their future employment. Within this theoretical framework the question arises as to whether males and females acquire different degrees of human capital both qualitatively and quantitatively due to the differences in family and childcare responsibilities. It was posited in the work of Johnson and Stafford (1974) that there is less incentive for women in accumulation of human capital because the time spent parenting leaves very little time for these women to realize any return on their investment in education and training. Additionally, the work of Hagedorn (1995) estimated a wage differential that was gender-based and that was incorporated into a causal model estimation and prediction of satisfaction based on job-related measures. Findings show that the estimated wage differential had impacts upon the perceptions of women relating to stress level, job satisfaction (global), and the individual's intention to remain in academia.


The work of Geraghty, Niles, Shager and Strei (2004) entitled: "Wisconsin Women=Prosperity K-12 Science, Math, Computer Science, and Vocational-Technical Education: Continuing Gaps for Girls in Wisconsin" states: "Continuing deficits in girls' interest participation, and achievement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields decrease their ability to contribute to an economy that needs their full participation." Furthermore, it is related that it has been indicated by current data that "Wisconsin women continue to make career choices that limit their potential for earnings and advancement, despite the facts that women and minorities will be the majority of new entrants into the workforce, and Wisconsin already ranks near the top in the nation of women's labor force participation." (Geraghty, Niles, Shager and Strei, 2004) Geraghty, Niles, Shager and Strei additionally state: "Research suggests that efforts to improve female participation in nontraditional areas must begin early in the educational process and must be comprehensive in nature; thus the authors suggest areas for additional research, and include policy recommendations for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and local school districts." (2004)

The study of Geraghty, Niles, Shager and Strei is focused on: (1) identification of and measurement of gender disparities in education in Wisconsin at the K-12 level specifically in the subjects of science, math, computer science, and vocational/technology education; (2) identification of barriers that serve to "deter young women from taking courses and choosing careers in science, math, computer science, and vocational/technical fields; (3) identification of resources and promotion of instructional practices that support young women in choosing classes and entering in these nontraditional fields; (4) development of strategies for continually recruitment and nurturing of female students in nontraditional jobs and areas of study; and (5) formulation of policy recommendations for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and local school districts that promote participation and achievement in nontraditional fields of study and nontraditional occupations." (Geraghty, Niles, Shager and Strei, 2004) Additionally reported is the study conducted by the University of Milwaukee Employment and Training Institute, which states findings that girls leaving schools in Wisconsin "continue to make career choices that result in lower pay and less occupational variety for them as adults." (ETI, 2000; as cited in Geraghty, Niles, Shager and Strei, 2004)

The work of Ramirez and Wotipka entitled: "Slowly but Surely? The Global Expansion of Women's Participation in Science and Engineering Fields of Study 1972-92" states that recent studies of a cross-national nature "have shown that women's enrollments in higher education have increased in most countries throughout the world in recent decades. These increases are observable whether one thinks in terms of women's enrollments as a share of total enrollments of as a percentage of the appropriate age cohort of women who are eligible to attend institutions of higher education." (2001) it is stated in this work that there appears to be a pattern of growth throughout the world and this has been addressed "via a perspective that emphasizes the rise of world models of progress and justice and how these models were articulated and developed in international organizations and social movements, leading to the incorporation of women as citizens and individuals."(Ramirez and Wotipka, 2001) this work states that this perspective which is "incorporative" in nature the world "celebrates both women's educational rights and the significance of education for development leads to women gaining ground in higher education." (Ramirez and Wotipka, 2001) Stated as a question that is crucial is "whether overall expansion masks important differences in the likelihood of expansion across different fields of study..." (Ramirez and Wotipka, 2001) Stated finally is an explosion of women in the humanities, social sciences and education may coexist with little or no change in female enrollments in science and engineering." (Ramirez and Wotipka, 2001)

The work entitled: "From Scarcity to Visibility: Gender Differences in the Careers of Doctoral Scientists and Engineers" relates that two and one-half decades ago "women were barely represented among doctoral scientists and engineers. Tens of new women, Ph.D.s graduated each year in fields such as engineering, physics, chemistry and mathematics, as compared to hundreds of men. Female undergraduates in science and engineering stood a very small chance of ever encountering a women professor of any description. All that has changed." (Long, 2001) This work relates that in 1955 "women were 32% of new science and engineering Ph.Ds and over 30% of faculty in many fields. Although there are nowhere close to half of doctoral scientists in most fields, they are a visible presence in the science and engineering workforce." (Long, 2001) the work of Long states that between the period of 1970 to 1995 "there were significant advances in the entry of women into science and engineering. In the five broad fields considered (engineering, physical sciences, mathematical sciences, life sciences, and social/behavior sciences) there were 350% more women among new Ph.Ds in 1995 than in 1973." (2001) Long states that in the social and behavioral sciences "women were just over half of the Ph.Ds in 1995 and in the life sciences they reached over 40%." (2001)

Long adds that in spite of the advances that women have made toward being equally represented in science and engineering, still women are "not anywhere close to being equally represented in all science and engineering fields." (2001) Women were merely eighteen percent of those with bachelor's degrees in engineering in 1995 and a mere representative twelve percent of those holding Ph.Ds in 1995 in engineering. There have been growing "similarities among men and women in background characteristics" according to along that have accompanied the growth of women entering the science and engineering fields.

Long states that other factors include the "differences [which] remain in the ways that men and women fund their education making it more likely that men are launched into research careers. Men are more likely to receive funding through research assistantships...women are more likely than men to fund their graduate work by holding teaching assistantships in the physical sciences, mathematical sciences, and engineering-fields in which they are least well represented." (2001)

Long (2001) states the following facts as well:

Differences in the distribution of male and female scientists and engineers across sectors of employment shrunk between 1973 and 1995.

In 1973, 8% of female scientists and engineers were employed in industry, while 26% of men were. In 1995, these percentages had risen to 26 and 37, respectively.

The growth in the industry share came largely at the expense of academia, which employed 68% of women in 1973 and only 51% by 1995.

For all fields, gender differences in distribution across sectors of employment narrowed or stayed essentially constant.

By 1995, the largest differences in employment sector were in engineering, where 11% more men than women were employed in industry, and in the life sciences, where the gap was 7.5%. (Long, 2001)

Long states that it is important to keep in… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Socialization of Girls in the US Away From Science and Engineering Professions 1950 200.  (2008, April 26).  Retrieved February 16, 2019, from

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"Socialization of Girls in the US Away From Science and Engineering Professions 1950 200."  April 26, 2008.  Accessed February 16, 2019.