The scissor effect: Challenges and response strategies for encouraging Moroccan women to pursue engineering and science careers

Samantha Adams, Scarlett R. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

In the United States, women represent 18% of engineering and science undergraduates and 14% of the engineering and science workforce. In contrast, in Morocco women comprise a more generous portion of the engineering and science student population representing 50% of entering undergraduate science, engineering, and technology (SET) students. After graduation, however, the percentage of women in Moroccan industry falls to levels similar to those in the U.S. This largely unexplored phenomenon is known as the “scissor effect” and describes the loss of human capital that occurs between the time women enter higher education and the time they enter SET industry careers. The objective of this research was to identify the perceived challenges and factors that contribute to the significant reduction of female engineers in SET fields after college graduation in Morocco. In order to accomplish this, a series of focus groups and semi-structured interviews were conducted with 30 undergraduate and graduate students from two Moroccan engineering and science universities. The analysis of these findings revealed numerousfactors that contribute to women’s underrepresentation in the SET work-force, including perceived stereotyping, discrimination, work/life balance concerns, and internalized gender norms. The results of the study are used to identify response strategies to minimize this scissor effect in SET careers in Morocco.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-257
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
Volume22
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)

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