Research Topic

Women’s Under-representation in Engineering and Computing: Fresh Perspectives on a Complex Problem

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About this Research Topic

Understanding the many complexities that define gender inequality has been described by researchers as a grand challenge. Novel insights, innovation, a broader community to conduct research and to ascertain effective interventions are essential in the challenge to create organizations that are gender equal. ...

Understanding the many complexities that define gender inequality has been described by researchers as a grand challenge. Novel insights, innovation, a broader community to conduct research and to ascertain effective interventions are essential in the challenge to create organizations that are gender equal. As such, this Research Topic in Frontiers in Psychology addresses the under-representation of women in engineering and computing as a complex, but solvable problem. This Research Topic seeks to inform the global community about advances in understanding the under-representation of women in engineering and computing with a focus on what enables change. Further, this Topic will promote fresh perspectives, innovative methodologies, and mixed method approaches important to accelerating the pace of change.

Despite more than 40 years of research attempting to explain the gender gap, the engineering and computing professions continue to be dominated by men. In 2015, women comprised 12% of the engineers and 25% of computer professionals in the USA. This is at a time when women comprise 47% of the total labor force and 52% of managers and professionals. The numbers are similar in Europe, India, and Australia, but slightly higher in China.

An intentional, international effort is essential to accelerate the rate of achievement for women in engineering and computing. As such this Research Topic expects to include work from multiple disciples, studying multi-levels using multiple methods. We are seeking at least 15 submissions from scholars and practitioners. We encourage submissions that pertain to one of the following areas, but any submissions that may increase the representation of women in engineering and computing are welcome.
1. Empirical work examining interventions that lead to an increase in the number of women in the engineering and computing professions, including but not limited to career choice, academic success, workplace recruitment, retention, and advancement.
2. New theoretical directions that provide a framework for continued understanding of the under-representation of women, especially theory that view the issue as a complex, multi-level system.
3. Critical reviews of the literature, identifying gaps in understanding of women’s experiences in engineering and computing, explanations of why these gaps exist and how to increase understanding. These reviews could focus on theoretical, methodological, or other problems.
4. Case studies describing interventions that have improved the representation of women in engineering and/or computing, with an emphasis on the psychological and organizational factors that impacted women’s ability to achieve within the organizations.


Keywords: Women, STEM, Engineering, Computing


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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