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Information Resources Management Association
Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

The Role of Information in the Choice of IT as a Career

The Role of Information in the Choice of IT as a Career
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Author(s): Elizabeth G. Creamer (Virginia Tech, USA)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 5
Source title: Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Second Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-026-4.ch531


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Practitioners, researchers, and policy makers alike are puzzled by the continued intransigence to the integration of women to undergraduate and graduate majors, as well as occupation, in fields like engineering and information technology (IT). While strong advances in the direction of gender equity have been made in the last two decades in fields like biology and mathematics and in the professional fields of medicine and law, women only still represent about 20% of the undergraduate enrollments in engineering and computer science (NSF, 2000). This gender gap persists persist despite the near evaporation of evidence of gender differences in performance in these fields, such as in the dramatic narrowing of gender differences in the high school course taking patterns, including in advance placement courses (Clewell & Campbell, 2002). Gender differences in the enrollment in computer-related courses and out-of-class, informal programs in science and engineering persist, however (Volman & van Eck, 2001). Academics have used several major groups of theories to try to understand the reasons for women’s under-representation in IT and engineering. Social psychological theories are one of four major groupings of theoretical frameworks identified by Clewell and Campbell (2002). As compared to perspectives that seek biological or cognitive explanations for women’s disinclination to pursue careers in some fields, social-psychological theorists consider environmental, social, and attitudinal influences. Factors such as teachers’ and advisors’ attitudes and beliefs, pedagogical practices in the way math and sciences courses are taught, and the influence of parents and the media are some of the factors considered by social-psychological theorists (Clewell & Campbell, 2002). The research described in this entry belongs to the group of social-psychological theories that look to environmental, rather than individual, explanation for women’s underrepresentation in certain fields in science and engineering, including information technology. It considers the role of parents and the role of interactions with teachers, counselors, and important others in interest in a career in information technology.

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