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Domestic violence survey finds shift in attitudes, awareness

A new survey of Californians' attitudes on domestic violence found that the vast majority of respondents believe that the abuse can happen to anyone, and 66 percent said that they have a friend or family member who has been a victim.

The survey is a rare measure of public attitudes and awareness toward domestic violence among adults in the state.

It was conducted by San Francisco polling firm Tulchin Research and was funded by the Blue Shield of California Foundation. The survey was conducted in English and Spanish with 900 randomly selected adults who were called on cellphones and landlines. The findings were released to California Watch this week.

Victim advocates said that the results of the survey illustrate a marked shift in public opinion and awareness of the topic in recent decades.


Thirty years ago, domestic violence “was not an issue that people would talk about or that people felt was a serious problem,” said Esta Soler, president of Futures Without Violence, a national anti-violence organization that receives funding from the Blue Shield of California Foundation. “For most people, they thought that if it happened at all, it happened someplace else.”


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Female engineering majors struggle with confidence issues

Female engineering majors attend the same classes, take the same tests and earn equally good grades as men.

But a new study in the October issue of the American Sociological Review finds that even though female engineering majors went through the same program as men, they developed less confidence in their engineering expertise and less confidence that engineering is the career that fits them best.

And as a result of these confidence issues, women who started out in college as engineering majors were more likely than men to leave the major and less likely than men to see themselves as engineers in the future, the study found.

"It's not so much, 'Will I fit in with the people?' It’s not so much, 'Will I be popular?' It’s more, 'Does it fit with who I am?' " said Erin Cech, lead author of the study and a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University’s Clayman Institute for Gender Research. "It’s not a sufficient condition to think someone is good at something – they need to see it as part of who they are."

It’s pretty well documented that women are less likely than men to pursue engineering as a career, more likely to leave the engineering major once they enter it and less likely to go into the field after graduation. Women made up just 17.5 percent of undergraduates enrolled in engineering programs in 2008, according to data [PDF] from the Engineering Workforce Commission.

“That’s the puzzle,” said Cech, whose study was funded by the National Science Foundation.

Filed under: Higher Ed, Daily Report


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