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Research and theoretical papers
Published: 16-07-2012

Gender and Career Outcomes of U.S. Engineers

Energetics Technology Center

Lisa M Frehill

Lisa Frehill is a principal analyst at Energetics Technology Center. Since earning her doctoral degree she has developed expertise in the science and engineering workforce with a focus on how gender and ethnicity impact access to careers in these fields and on women’s international participation and collaboration. While an associate professor of sociology at New Mexico State University, she was Principal Investigator of the National Science Foundation funded ADVANCE: Institutional Transformation program, which sought to increase women’s success in academic science and engineering careers. She has consulted with numerous colleges and universities on gender equity issues. Frehill has worked with the Society of Women Engineers on several projects including a study of post-graduate engineering retention and an annual review of literature on women in engineering.

careers gender engineering work-life balance SESTAT


Why are women more likely than men to leave the U.S. engineering workforce?& This article analyses existing, nationally-representative data about engineers in the United States to answer this question.& Two types of factors are considered: factors associated with balancing work/family; and those associated with the relative success of moving into managerial work away from technical tracks, a common engineering career path.& The data are the U.S. National Science Foundation’s Science and Engineering Statistical Data System for 2006 and provide the most comprehensive data about the U.S. science and engineering workforce.& While U.S. engineering women are more likely than their male peers to indicate that family-related reasons were part of the reason for not being in the field, this reason was less important than were “changes in career or professional interests.”& Consistent with previous research, men are more likely than women to move into managerial careers and to indicate that they have left engineering for “pay or promotion opportunities.”

How to Cite

Frehill, L. M. (2012). Gender and Career Outcomes of U.S. Engineers. International Journal of Gender, Science and Technology, 4(2), 148–166. Retrieved from