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Engineering disciplines have focused on recruiting and retaining women, assessing factors that contribute to decisions to enter or exit the field at every level. While many studies have examined writing in engineering disciplines, few have looked at writing’s role in women’s decisions to remain in or leave engineering. Using a case study of a professional civil engineer, Katy, this study examines the role that writing played in her dissatisfaction with engineering and her ultimate decision to leave the field. The author analyzes two genres of writing, meeting minutes and a preliminary engineering report, to explore how Katy’s writing practices often ran counter to her coworkers’ or supervisors’ approaches. While a single case study makes generalization impossible, this work opens the door to future research that accounts for writing in recruiting and retaining women.

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Mallette, J.C., Writing and Women's Retention in Engineering, Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 31(4), pp. 417-442. Copyright © 2017, SAGE Publications. Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications. doi: 10.1177/1050651917713253