Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Recruiting and retaining women in engineering have stagnated since the mid-1990's partially due to the marginalization of women in education and the workforce. This research analyzed the quality and quantity of representation of women and men in visual images of professional science and engineering trade journals to illuminate the marginalizing climate of engineering. A mixed methods approach using visual content analysis was performed for a 15-year period during 1998-2012 of three different trade journals of professional societies representing various disciplines of engineering: the first has a low percentage of women, the second has a higher percentage of women, and the third, a science journal, was at gender parity. Data was coded for men and women in one issue per year of each trade journal, and was analyzed using chi-squared and logged-odds analyses. Results show that women were 25% of the population in the trade journals and increased over time at an average rate of 1% per year. Women were shown in depictions that were qualitatively costly to their professional positions, whereas men were shown in professionally beneficial ways. Women were shown over-represented in feminine stereotypes and subordinate portrayals and under-represented in masculine stereotypes. Men were shown over-represented in masculine stereotypes and superior portrayals and under-represented in feminine stereotypes. The engineering trade journal of the society with a relatively high percentage of women portrayed women least negatively and men least positively. The trade journal of the society with the lowest percentage of women showed women most negatively and men most positively and used advertisements the most. Thus, the quality of female portrayals in the engineering trade journals were reflective of the quantity of female participation in the engineering disciplines they represented. Advertisements more than editorial content showed women more negatively and men more positively through depictions of stereotypical and traditional roles. Thus, trade journals with more control over their content (less ads) showed women less negatively. Changes over time reinforced these findings, where during the Great Recession the number of advertisements declined and the quality of women's representation improved.



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Committee Chair

Cheek, Earl



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