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Journal cover: Equal Opportunities International

Equal Opportunities International

ISSN: 0261-0159
Currently published as: Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal

Online from: 1981

Subject Area: Human Resource Management

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Gender and attitudes to enterprise: Survey of UK doctorate students in science, engineering and technology


Document Information:
Title:Gender and attitudes to enterprise: Survey of UK doctorate students in science, engineering and technology
Author(s):Anna Zalevski, (UK Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology (UKRC), Bradford, UK), Laura Swiszczowski, (UK Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology (UKRC), Bradford, UK)
Citation:Anna Zalevski, Laura Swiszczowski, (2009) "Gender and attitudes to enterprise: Survey of UK doctorate students in science, engineering and technology", Equal Opportunities International, Vol. 28 Iss: 1, pp.65 - 79
Keywords:Entrepreneurialism, Gender, Postgraduates, Sciences, United Kingdom
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/02610150910933640 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Abstract:

Purpose – There are few female-led enterprises in the male-dominated occupations of science, engineering and technology (SET) and very little research is devoted to this area. The purpose of this paper is to report on a study that investigated differences and similarities in career aspirations, attitudes to enterprise, and experiences/opinions regarding setting up a business, among PhD students in SET disciplines.

Design/methodology/approach – A confidential online survey was distributed via e-mail to all doctorate students in SET departments in the Yorkshire and Humber region, with an 8.6 per cent return rate.

Findings – The results show that all respondents had a preference for work in academia, but men were also more likely to indicate a preference for work in industry and women for work in the public sector. Gender differences were further pronounced in students' attitudes to and knowledge of enterprise. Women provided more potential advantages of owning a business than men; however, they also reported having less business training and/or experience, being less aware of entrepreneurial possibilities, and being less likely to believe that their business ideas could have commercial potential or to discuss enterprise with their supervisor. The results indicate a lack of information and lack of encouragement by academic staff for female students' potential progression from PhD study into enterprise.

Originality/value – This paper provides an insight into the aspirations of SET doctorate students from a gender perspective. The results of this study should help academic staff and higher education practitioners to improve their strategies for promoting entrepreneurial possibilities to female students.



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