‘It's more flexible’: persistence of women engineers in the academy

Yeukai Angela Mlambo, Reitumetse Obakeng Mabokela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The under-representation of women in engineering is an issue of concern for policy-makers. While much of the existing literature has focussed on understanding reasons for women's under-representation in engineering and related technical fields, there is a paucity of research that examines why women who are already in engineering persist. This study aims to answer the question, why do women engineers in academe persist in a discipline that is generally perceived to be inhospitable to women. Three main challenges, namely gender discrimination, lack of institutional and disciplinary support, and the rigid nature of the workplace, emerged as key impediments to women engineers in the private sector. In contrast, women engineers in the academy identified the flexibility offered by academic environments, the presence of personal support networks, and a passion for teaching and students as critical factors that influenced their decision to remain in academia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-285
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Journal of Engineering Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 4 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • South Africa
  • Women in engineering
  • faculty persistence
  • gender
  • higher education
  • women in academia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Engineering


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