Date of Original Version

2011

Type

Thesis

Abstract or Table of Contents

As technology becomes more prevalent in our daily lives, the technical job field continues to grow. However, women still hold only a small percentage of these technical jobs. What is the reason for this occurrence? What cultural and social influences do women face that hinders them from opting for technology? These are precisely the questions that are answered with the thesis, titled, “Cultural Influences and New Programs Affecting Women in Technology.”

This thesis was an empirical based research project comprised of multiple methodologies. Survey questions were sent to various women in different technical majors attending Carnegie Mellon University. A total of 37 women responded to the survey, out of which 10 volunteered to participate in follow up interviews. After analyzing this data, it was discovered that women are typically influenced by two major factors: family and teacher experiences. For instance, if a parent is in technology, most girls receive exposure to computers very early on and thus, may become interested in the field. Moreover, if teachers are unbiased and display enthusiasm for technology, women may feel more encouraged to pursue technical fields. The thesis demonstrates that a women’s selection of a technical degree of study is not due to innate gender qualities, but rather due to social influences related to the type of exposure to computers received.

Comments

Department of Information Systems

Jeria Quesenberry, advisor

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