Missed Opportunity for Diversity in Engineering: Black Women and Undergraduate Engineering Degree Attainment

Trina L. Fletcher, Jay P. Jefferson, Brittany N. Boyd, Kelly J. Cross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Efforts dedicated towards broadening participation for Black and other underrepresented groups in engineering at post-secondary institutions has intensified in recent decades. However, Black women have not yet reached parity in undergraduate engineering degree attainment. To elucidate this trend, data from the U.S. Department of Education was analyzed to investigate postsecondary completion for Black women in engineering. Results indicate that the percentage of degrees awarded to Black women has slightly decreased during the last five years when compared to women of all races. However, the percentage of Black women obtaining engineering degrees has increased when compared to the general Black engineering population, with a larger percentage of Black women obtaining engineering degrees compared to their male counterparts than any other ethnicity. Thus, the purpose of this paper is to provide recommendations for research avenues that may strengthen knowledge around the enrollment and retention of Black women in engineering at post-secondary institutions.

Keywords

  • bachelor’s degrees
  • engineering
  • gender
  • HBCUs
  • race
  • undergraduate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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