The goals of this study were to examine the utility of social cognitive career theory in a South Asian context, extend SCCT beyond its individualistic roots to include social and contextual variables, and explore the possible differential validity of SCCT predictors for men and women. The study involved an in-class survey of Bangladeshi undergraduate engineering students including 209 women and 640 men. Despite stronger relationships between persistence and two predictors – social aspirations and self-efficacy – for men, self-efficacy, the core construct of SCCT, was the most important predictor of persistence for both women and men thus supporting the applicability of SCCT in non-Western contexts. Several new measures were developed for this study which provide a basis for future research but will require further validation. The results demonstrated the applicability of SCCT in a non-Western context but the amount of variance explained was modest. Thus, additional research into context-specific factors affecting persistence is warranted. The results suggest that interventions intended to enhance the participation of women in non-traditional fields such as engineering should focus on enhancing self-efficacy, potentially through creating a more supportive learning environment. The current study is one of the first to assess the applicability of SCCT in a non-Western context and to examine the differential validity of SCCT predictors for women and men.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Bangladesh, Careers, Engineering education, Gender, Persistence, Sex differences, Social cognitive career theory, South Asia
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1108/GM-01-2013-0009
Journal Gender in Management
Citation
Saifuddin, S.M. (Samina M.), Dyke, L, & Rasouli, M. (Maria). (2013). Gender and careers: A study of persistence in engineering education in Bangladesh. Gender in Management, 28(4), 188–209. doi:10.1108/GM-01-2013-0009