Women Dropout in Engineering Studies

Wolffram, Andrea, Derboven, Wibke; Winker, Gabriele


International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 2, Issue 1, S. 95-102

Typ der Publikation

Abbrecherquoten in Ingenieurwissenschaften, Gender


Datum des letzten Aufrufs

During the past decades many studies have investigated access barriers for women in the field of engineering studies. However, the analysis of women dropouts in engineering education remains an almost under-investigated research field in Europe. Most studies of dropouts at universities do not consider the situation in engineering studies – especially through a gender lens. The study presented in this paper broadens dropout research by integrating the gender perspective and makes recommendations for the improvement of study conditions for women. By using qualitative research methods, we gained withdrawers’ personal explanation constructs, rather than normative knowledge of the reasons for dropping out. The findings of our interviews with 30 female and 10 male withdrawers from technical degrees in particular expose the need to take a closer look at the ambiguity of the learning culture at technical universities. This paper presents five types of withdrawers. Each of them shows specific conflicts caused by mismatches between the characteristics and social practices of the students and the existing learning environment at university. Several specifics of the academic culture of technical degrees are deduced from these mismatches, which cause student attrition among women in particular.

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