ERIC Number: ED179826
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Critical Mass and Social Support for Women Choosing Nontraditional Careers. Final Report, October 1978-October 1979.
Lantz, Alma; And Others
A study compared the perceptions of the social environment of satisfied women engineering students against disatisfied students and ex-students at twelve engineering schools with varying percentages of female students. The results found no direct effects of the perceived or actual porportion of female enrollment on satisfaction with engineering. In fact, the proportion of females did not directly affect performance (grades), feelings of social ambiguity and isolation, or perceived support from institutional personnel. The proportion of females in the environment was strongly related to peer group interactions, especially intimate interactions in which personal problems were discussed with a confidant. Relations among the percentage of women, presence of a confidant, feelings of social integration, and satisfaction with engineering were observed. Throughout the analysis, the perceived support from the male peer group was more consistently and strongly related to all measures of satisfaction. The findings, which suggest the inseparability between grades and social satisfaction, the importance of the dominant male peer group and the family, and the perception of alternative social situations, are related to four theories: critical mass, tokenism, social fit, and individual environment fit. (Author/BM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (DHEW), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Denver Univ., CO. Denver Research Inst.