Case Study

Improving opportunities for female students to pursue careers in engineering

Challenge

Engineering needs more women. Although the number of female engineers has increased in the past several decades, it is still far too low. With the backing of a major utility, four universities partnered to help increase female students’ awareness of engineering as a career option, support the success of female undergraduates, and help female graduates transition into the workforce.

Solution

To help create better opportunities for female engineering students, we developed an approach that explored, in depth, how students experience engineering as a field of study and perceive it as a profession. We also examined the specific supports and opportunities that students needed to be successful.

Insights were gathered from over 2,000 students at four universities, through focus groups and surveys, using methods both tailored to each school and comparable across schools.

Outcome

The research identified unique challenges faced by female students not experienced by their male counterparts. The Strategic Counsel produced numerous specific, actionable ideas to improve student supports. In future, the universities intend to repeat the research to measure progress over time.