Professor gains grant to study gender in engineering workplaces

Published: 24 Oct 2017 By Matt Cook

 

In the last week, an Assistant Professor won a highly acclaimed grant from the National Science Foundation to research gender in engineering workplaces and to investigate methods of promoting a more inclusive workforce.

Image result for female engineer

The NSF grant, at just over $500 000 is an extension of two previous grants studying discourses in engineering education, exploring how engineers think and communicate gender in their field and the second on the dynamics of interdisciplinary teams.

The latest grant observing ‘Characterizing gendered socialization of newcomer engineers’ will include an in-depth analysis of the experiences of young women and men at the start of their civil engineering career.

 

Professor Kacey Beddoes highlights that nearly 40% of women will leave the science and engineering sector within the first five to ten years of their career (Source: University of Massachusetts Lowell)

An even amount of both women and men will be included within the study, observing their workplace at the start of their career and how this changes over the following four years. The study will investigate social interactions at work, potential barriers and how welcome or excluded they may feel within the work environment.

Whilst more money is being invested in attempts to attract more women into science and engineering, the fact is that the disparity is still very prominent. Beddoes believes that previous research on this issue tends to look at women as the root of the problem, rather than highlighting potential gender biases within the industry. Beddoes highlights that her research will focus on the majority populations just as much as women.

The NSF grant also includes an educational piece where Beddoes will be involved in making recommendations to improve the overall learning experience for future civil engineering students. She will actively teach and promote her research and is currently teaching classes in Gender and Engineering.

Beddoes is an associate of the Center for Women and Work as well as Research in Sociology of Engineering Group which explores how social processes influence the engineering industry.

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