Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Applied Sciences, Technology, and Education

Committee Chair(s)

Lacee R. Boschetto


Lacee R. Boschetto


Jennifer Nielson


Brian K. Warnick


Female students have traditionally dominated enrollment in Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) courses (formerly Home Economics). However, gender diversity has recently increased in many FCS areas due to changes in gender stereotypes and career opportunities. This trend is evident at Utah State University, where gender diversity in clothing construction (i.e., sewing) courses has increased drastically since the creation of the Outdoor Product Design and Development degree program. This study evaluated students’ experiences in traditionally female-dominant clothing construction courses.

Gender-inclusive courses are crucial for a productive and safe learning environment for all students. Avoiding personal biases and cultivating a relevant curriculum are methods for creating a gender-inclusive curriculum. Utah State University clothing construction students completed an anonymous, online survey about their previous and current clothing construction courses. Survey questions examined feelings of belonging, relevancy of course content, and support students received from others.

One significant finding showed that female students have more previous clothing construction experience than male students. Thus, there are potential barriers to gender-diverse enrollment in clothing construction courses at the secondary level. The data also showed greater inclusivity in post-secondary clothing construction courses due to more gender diversity and course content relevancy. These findings are relevant to clothing construction and FCS instructors in secondary, post-secondary, and public spheres.