The Gender Gap in Engineering

According to studies found by the National Science Foundation (NSF), in the year 2018, there were more women than men that were enrolled in colleges. This includes both 2-year and 4-year schools, furthermore, for STEM majors 44.7% of bachelor's degrees and 41.2% of master's degrees awarded to students went to female scholars [1][3].

Yet despite these promising numbers of women pursuing higher education, the amount of women in computer science (CS) and engineering fields has largely remained stagnant over the past 20 years as seen in the data table showing only roughly a 4% increase [1] in the number of women pursuing CS or Engineering majors.

This is concerning because the need for engineering professionals, educators, and leaders in these industries has been growing yet this fruitful career path is being largely avoided by many women[2]. Researchers have noticed an issue regarding self-efficacy among women in engineering fields as they do not feel included in the field [4]. 

The next section will further explore the reasons creating this void of interest regarding engineering and why even the women who entered the field with high levels of self-confidence and self-esteem began to show negative feelings and doubt both in college over the years as they begin to feel uncertain on if they could graduate or even stay enrolled in the major. It will also address the self-perpetuating issues that fence women away from wanting to become engineers.   


  1. "Where Discoveries Begin." National Science Foundation. Accessed October 15, 2021.
  2. “Why Aren’t There More Women in Engineering?” 2021. Buro Happold (blog). June 29, 2021.
  3. Higginbotham, Eve J., Maria Lund Dahlberg, Engineering National Academies of Sciences, and Engineering National Academies of Sciences. The Impact of COVID-19 on the Careers of Women in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Consensus Study Report of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2021.
  4. Marra, Rose M., Kelly A. Rodgers, Demei Shen, and Barbara Bogue. “Women Engineering Students and Self-Efficacy: A Multi-Year, Multi-Institution Study of Women Engineering Student Self-Efficacy.” Journal of Engineering Education (Washington, D.C.) 98, no. 1 (2009): 27–38.
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