PERUVIAN WOMEN IN ENGINEERING: A SOCIAL COGNITIVE CAREER THEORY APPROACH
Although the participation of women in higher education has increased, they are still underrepresented in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) areas. Peru as other Latin-American countries, has an additional issue to cope with this reality, which is the lack of research in gender gap, recruitment, retention and promotion for women in science and technology. In 2017, in a study carried out by the Peruvian National Council of Science and Technology (CONCYTEC), it was found that one out of four researchers in engineering and technology were women. Moreover, official national statistics for women in higher education accounted for 15% of the total number of students enrolled in engineering careers. To address the issue of gender equality in education, several national studies have been carried out with the aim to generate relevant information and knowledge for the Peruvian context that allow to recommend strategies of access and participation of women in STEM. In the present study, we evaluate causal relationships between factors as self-efficacy, gender stereotypes, barriers and supports, emotional state, career outcome expectations, interest, goals, personal performance accomplishments and attitudes toward science through the Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT). In order to test the model and examine these relationships, a total of 531 college engineering students completed self-reports of the Engineering Fields Questionnaire at three universities in Lima, Peru. To validate the SCCT model, we analyse the information from self-reports through exploratory factor analysis and structural equation modeling (SEM). Considering the key role of universities in formative and educational activities, especially for developing countries, we expect to confirm most of the hypotheses derived from the model, displaying the gender effects in the role of interests, persistence and goals in Peruvian women in engineering, obtaining relevant and useful information for policy makers and educational institutions.