Factors Influencing Women's Preferences for STEM Professions: A Case Study of the University of Peshawar


  • Ihsan Ullah Probation Officer, Directorate of Reclamation and Probation, Home and Tribal Affairs Department, Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.
  • Habib Ullah Nawab Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Chitral, Chitral, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.
  • Syed Owais Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Peshawar, Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.




Gender Disparity, Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Female, Male, Dominant Culture, Women's Participation


There is a widely held belief that there is an increasing gender gap in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) worldwide. Women have achieved gender equality with men in certain professions, such as the humanities and social sciences. However, women still lack adequate representation in the highest positions of academia and the professional world in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). This paper is grounded in institutional theory to explore the factors that demotivate or hinder women from joining STEM as a profession in universities. The research is based on a qualitative case study of the University of Peshawar. We conducted 20 interviews with female staff members in 13 STEM departments, with 32 female staff out of 183 faculty members. The collected data generated a total of 123 codes. The axial coding procedure generated 38 codes, which were grouped into fourteen distinct categories and four overarching themes of  (1) male dominant culture, (2) multiple influences, (3) professional environment, and (4) job opportunities. The study highlights the complex interplay between societal attitudes and gender in STEM fields, emphasising the need for comprehensive strategies to promote gender equality. Addressing these factors and thoroughly analysing women's engagement in STEM departments is crucial.

Author Biography

  • Habib Ullah Nawab, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Chitral, Chitral, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.


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How to Cite

Ullah, I., Nawab, H. U., & Owais, S. (2024). Factors Influencing Women’s Preferences for STEM Professions: A Case Study of the University of Peshawar. Qlantic Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities, 5(2), 184-193. https://doi.org/10.55737/qjssh.767391422

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