November 16, 2018
The United States has spent millions to increase women’s representation in engineering with minimal national impact. US female engineering graduates reached a high of 21.3% in 2017 and female practicing engineers hover at 11%. On the other hand, women’s engineering participation in a number of predominately Muslim countries is two to three times that of the US. An interdisciplinary, cross-national team has been funded by the US National Science Foundation to assess the contextual factors that encourage women’s participation in engineering in tertiary education and as a career in four countries Jordan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia.
This research is significant because it will document factors that encourage women’s successful participation in engineering in social, political, and cultural contexts that are very different from the US. With its cross-national, in-depth exploration of women’s curricular and career choices and its attention to mechanisms producing gender-differentiated curricular and career decisions, this project promises to shed light more generally on how context shapes women’s successful participation in engineering in ways that can inform our efforts to broaden participation in the US. Dr. Ater Kranov will provide an overview of the project, snapshots of women’s stories revealed during hundreds of hours of focus group interviews, emerging findings, and future work.
Dr. Ashley Ater Kranov is an adjunct associate professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Washington State University and President of the consulting firm Global Professional Skills Assessment. From 2015-2018 she served as Acting Vice Dean of Quality Assurance for the Deanship of E-Learning and the College of Computing and Information Sciences at Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the largest female University in the world with over 50,000 female students, faculty and staff. From 2011-2013 Ashley served as Managing Director of Professional Services for ABET, the world leader in technical education accreditation. Her research areas of interest are direct methods to teach and measure the professional skills necessary for 21st century STEM workplace success and how to increase gender equity in engineering.