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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
SJR: 0.504 SNIP: 0.671 CiteScore™: 1.65

ISSN Imprimir: 1072-8325
ISSN On-line: 1940-431X

Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.2012004190
pages 179-198

"THE DOORS ARE OPEN" BUT THEY DON'T COME IN: CULTURAL CAPITAL AND THE PATHWAY TO ENGINEERING DEGREES FOR WOMEN

Susan Chanderbhan-Forde
Department of Anthropology, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida 33620, USA ; Alliance for Applied Research in Education and Anthropology, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, 33620, USA
N/A
Rebekah S. Heppner
Alliance for Applied Research in Education and Anthropology, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, 33620, USA
Kathryn M. Borman
Alliance for Applied Research in Education and Anthropology, Department of An thropology, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, 33620, USA

RESUMO

This article discusses women's unequal access to certain types of cultural capital and the role that this plays in their participation in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) undergraduate programs. We utilize ethnographic data from our three-year study of four undergraduate engineering programs in the state of Florida to analyze women's experiences on two portions of the pathway to an undergraduate STEM degree: women's experiences prior to college, when students are developing an interest in engineering, and their experiences during their undergraduate years. Our analysis indicates that women's limited access to certain types of cultural capital negatively impacts their early interest and knowledge of STEM fields, as well as their success during the undergraduate years. The voices of students and the viewpoints of their professors and school administrators are used to support this argument. We suggest two interventions: specific programs targeted to girls and young women and high quality mentoring.


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