*Note* This scheduling program was not designed by folks who do a lot with APA Style and unfortunately it defaults to listing authors in alphabetical order. We cannot fix this for this online schedule, but the author orders are posted in the order submitted in the printed program available via pdf here.

Saturday, March 7 • 2:25pm - 3:25pm
The Role of Intimate Relationships in Women’s and Men’s Persistence in Science and Engineering

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Women are underrepresented in science and engineering (SE) occupations, particularly in academia. Are gendered relationship norms a factor in this gender gap in persistence? A dominant norm is that women’s career should come second to those of their male partners--particularly when the partners’ career is demanding and high-status. This means that being in a committed relationship while in a demanding, high-status career path might add to the career challenges for women, and to career resources for men. This study examined intentions to pursue a doctorate and an academic career among female and male SE graduate students, across relationship commitments, and in reference to the partners’ occupation (STEM or not). One hundred and twenty nine (63% female) graduate students in SE doctoral programs at two universities completed a survey about their personal and educational profile and their educational/career intentions, prior to an interview. The study’s findings suggest a complex relationship between women’s relationship commitments, their male partners’ occupation, and intention to persist through an academic career. Single women (attached and not) were undecided about pursuing a doctorate. For married women, doctorate intention depended on the partners’ occupation. Married women whose partner was not in STEM were most intent at completing a doctorate, while married women whose partner was in STEM were less likely to express an intent to pursue a doctorate, relative to single women. Women married or attached to STEM partners tended to rule out an academic career. By contrast, for men, being married was associated with greater doctorate persistence intention. Men’s relationship status and their partners’ occupational field were unrelated to their academic career intent. These findings suggest that women’s and men’s intention to persist in the SE academia path is associated with different relationship profiles. Marriage appears to consistently be a resource for men, but not women.

Saturday March 7, 2015 2:25pm - 3:25pm