BYU Study Examines Women in Academic Fields Where Men Are the Vast Majority

BYU_logoSociology students at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, conducted a study of men and women who majored in fields where the majority of students are of the opposite gender. For example, they looked at men studying nursing and women in engineering disciplines.

The study found that men who were majoring in fields where women are traditionally a large majority, such as nursing, tended to feel compelled to amplify their ambitions by stating they were going to go on to do advanced research or to earn graduate credentials. “Men want to make sure people know they are going to do something more with their major or go farther in it,” said Martha Shepard, one of the students who conducted the study,

For women in traditional male fields, the survey results show they tended to have a family member, relative, or close family friend who had majored in a STEM field. “The women in STEM weren’t necessarily these trailblazing feminists who wanted to make a point that women could do this,” said Shepard, who graduated this spring with a minor in women’s studies. “It was more often women who held traditional values or views but still loved STEM. It was more of an innate desire.”


Filed Under: Research/StudySTEM Fields


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