1 Sultan Idris Education University (MALAYSIA)
2 Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (MALAYSIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 3546-3552
ISBN: 978-84-616-8412-0
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 10-12 March, 2014
Location: Valencia, Spain
Engineering regarded as one of the most significant elements of human development with the potential for adding value to product, process and services which contribute to the economical development and improving quality of life. In this 21st century, we are witnessing the rapid development of engineering sector where the need for engineering professional grows but on the other hand, the involvement of women in this profession is not convincing. The under presentation of women in engineering programs and the engineering profession give rise to concern on how to attract women to this male dominant career. A few studies have shown that the rate of engineering student attrition among female students is increasing in recent years and at the same time; the leaving rate among women who have been employed as engineers is also increasing. Thus, it is important for us to investigate the factors that influence learning engineering and intention to pursue engineering as a career among Japan and Malaysian female engineering students.

Undergraduate experience of engineering students is pivotal because it determines the preparedness among the students to become an engineer and it is also explain why women appeared to be less likely to enter a career in engineering. The learning experiences for undergraduate engineering students such as the quality of teaching, team work, setting of classroom, role models and level of engagement in classroom give an impact on the satisfaction level of female undergraduates enrolled in engineering program that dominated by male students. There are some types of interactions with the satisfaction on learning experiences have both short term and long term impacts on interest in engineering as a major and as a career. The satisfaction level on learning experience among the female undergraduates affect the retention level in engineering program and also in the engineering profession.

The influence of socio-cultural aspects determines the interest of studying and working in engineering related fields. The socio – cultural aspects such as ethnicity, socio economic status, gender career norms and family background play an important role on the motivation for learning and career choice for female engineering students. Socio cultural aspects impact the motivation to study in engineering among women engineering students while in Japan, that the cultural expectations for women to manage the responsibility of housekeeping and childcare has been seen as a significant challenge to retain women in engineering workforce. It is essential to investigate the ways in which the perception of woman’s role that is embedded in culture influence the career choice for female engineering students.

This research is vital and necessary since the area of this research is not a well researched area because the study concentrates within the same gender group from Japan and Malaysia. At the same time, there is limited study focusing on female engineering students from two different countries from different learning environment and cultural values. The study is also novel where it focuses on the influences of learning environment and socio-cultural aspects on the perception of Japan and Malaysian female engineering students on engineering program and engineering profession.
Female engineering students, learning experience, socio-cultural.