Community College Pathways to STEM Education for Women: A Challenge to Gender Stereotypes?

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This paper examines the question: Do community college systems of support for STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education and occupations reproduce or challenge gender stereotypes? Drawing from interviews with administrators, faculty, and students—as well as a student survey—the author examines why so few women enter community college engineering and computer technology programs and what community colleges might do to recruit and support women’s participation in these fields. Key findings show that women are as likely as men to be satisfied with their education and confident they will reach their educational and career goals. Still, pathways into these majors are harder for women to find because college programs are not sensitive to the barriers to STEM that women face. This paper was presented at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association in San Francisco.



Lois Joy

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38 pp.