As a female engineer or future female engineer, how is engineering represented? What place does the female engineer occupy and should she occupy? What are the contributions of female engineers on women’s issues? These questions are part of the broader field of social representations. According to Jodelet (1991), social representations would be a “common form of knowledge known as common sense because:
- it is socially elaborated and shared;
- it has a practical aim of organization, of mastery of the material, social and ideal environment, and of orientation of the conducts and communications;
- it contributes to the establishment of a vision that is a common reality for a given social or cultural group ” (p. 668).
This study of representations of engineers and future engineers regarding engineering and contributions of female engineers to engineering reinforces the idea of a vision of common sense strongly influenced by the environment and socially shared by several groups (Moscovici, 1987).
We would like to note that social representations would not only express social reality, but rather constitute their core, because they contribute to determining it and to constructing it (Zavalloni, 2001). Meaning that the representation that engineers make of the subject of our study could determine the interests of women and their motivations to pursue engineering studies and careers and to invest in typically feminine issues.
Jodelet, D. (1991). Représentation sociale. In H. Block (Eds.), Grand dictionnaire de la psychologie. Paris: Larousse, 668-672.
Moscovici, S. (1987). “Les représentations sociales. Exposé introductif”. In L.F. Marbeau & L.F. Audigier (Eds.), Proceedings of the conference “Savoirs enseignés – Savoirs acquis”, Paris, INPR, 31.
Zavalloni, M. (2001). Faire émerger le nouveau, anticiper le futur, In F. Buschini et N. Lalampalikis (Eds.), Penser la vie, le social, la nature, Mélanges en l’honneur de Serge Moscovici. Paris: Éditions de la Maison des sciences de l’homme, 411-417.