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Numerous data have been gathered by many different organizations over the past several decades tracking the number of females obtaining college degrees in engineering Data maintained by the Society of Women Engineers indicate that as recently as 1966 only 4 of bachelors degrees in engineering were awarded to females The percentage had risen to 18 by the year 2000 SWE 2004 Similarly data collected by Scientific American Magazine indicate that approximately 22 of doctoral engineering degrees were awarded to females by the late 1990s Scientific American 1998 These statistics clearly indicate a significant influx of women into engineering colleges over the past few decades Although these are encouraging data they clearly illustrate a disturbing ongoing under-representation of females earning engineering degrees Many studies have been done attempting to explain this phenomenon A recent literature review identified no less than 120 empirical and theoretical undertakings related directly to this issue Leslie Oaxaca 1997 Underlying explanations common to many of these studies and generally agreed upon are based on three main theories Leslie McLure Oaxaca 1998 These include self-conceptself-efficacy peer influence and goal commitment Self concept is simply ones perception of herself while self-efficacy is believe in ones ability to perform a certain behavior Lent Lopez Bieschke 1991 The significant underlying theme in many of these studies and their underlying theories is that the relatively low numbers of female engineering students are not a result of any fundamental lack of ability among females in mathematical or scientific learning abilities Rather the studies indicate that though females rank equally among males in math and science skills throughout grade school a complex set of physical changes emotional changes and social experiences during adolescence combine to diminish their interest in and commitment to the pursuit of mathematical and technical educational credentials More directly related to the purpose of this study is the fact that the increase in percentage of engineering degrees awarded
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