Title page for ETD etd-11597-92843


Type of Document Dissertation
Author Catron, Gail Satterfield
Author's Email Address wccatrg@wc.cc.va.us
URN etd-11597-92843
Title Factors that Influence a Woman's Choice to Remain in or to Leave a Male-dominated Major
Degree PhD
Department Student Personnel Services
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Creamer, Donald G. Committee Chair
Bird, Gloria W. Committee Member
Creamer, Elizabeth G. Committee Member
Fortune, Jimmie C. Committee Member
McLaughlin, Gerald W. Committee Member
Keywords
  • women in engineering
  • male-dominated major
  • chilly climate
Date of Defense 1997-12-03
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
Grounded theory methods of Strauss and Corbin (1990) and multidimensional scaling techniques (Kruskal & Wish, 1991) were used in this investigation to study the factors that influence a woman's choice to remain in or to leave a male-dominated major (Zuckerman, 1981). Focus group interviews were conducted with 62 sophomore women who had originally chosen male-dominated majors as freshmen to gain insight into the meanings and motivations of the student decisions. The participants responded to a 25-item survey which yielded a-three dimension solution with five clusters in the multidimensional scaling analysis.

Five themes emerged from the focus groups as factors influencing a woman's choice to remain in or to leave a male-dominated major: (a) self confidence and refuse to lose attitude; (b) interest in the field; (c) career goals, jobs, and money; (d) ability and experience in the field; and (e) the desire to make a difference. The three dimensions were (a) time of experience, (b) motivation, and (c) career rewards. The five clusters were: (a) pre-college experiences, (b) college experiences, (c) career rewards, (d) self-confidence, and (e) self-fulfillment.

The findings are consistent with current literature; however, the use of the multidimensional procedure goes further and helps to explain some of the motivations of the students and challenges some of the beliefs that persons in the practice of student affairs profess about woman and chilly climate. The study extends knowledge about how women deal with their chilly environment.

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