Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Research in Engineering and Technology Education


National Center for Engineering and Technology Education

Publication Date



The current number of women in technology and engineering only represents a fraction of today’s workforce. Technological innovation depends on our nation’s best and brightest, representing all segments of our diverse society. Sanders (2005), in talking about women in technology and engineering, stated that women’s lack of participation can only be measured in jobs not filled, problems not solved, and technology not created. Research in the area of how young women view technology will provide insights into how to better encourage and prepare them for careers in technology and engineering.

The purpose of this exploratory study was to examine four areas that may present barriers for women in technology and engineering: They are young women’s perceptions, self-esteem, self-efficacy, and perceived social support as they relate to their interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

The study examined pre-test measures of a group of about 2,800 girls participating in the Summer Technology and Engineering Preview at Stout (STEPS) program. This girls’ camp gives young women entering the seventh grade a chance to work in a laboratory setting with their peers with the goal of piquing their interest in the areas of technology and engineering.

The results showed that the greatest predictor of math and science interest was self-esteem, accounting for 36.4% of the variability in the interest scale. Self-efficacy was the second highest predictor, accounting for 26.5% of the variability. Perceived social support accounted for 17.8% of the variability. The least significant predictor of math and science interest was perceptions, accounting for a mere 4.1% of the variability.


This report made publicly available by the National Center for Engineering and Technology Education (NCETE).

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