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[ox-en] Gender in/of Engineering

Members of the list may be interested in this: and if members know of
engineers they could relay this to, that would be very helpful.



Volunteers needed!

I am writing to enlist your help with a research project I am currently
conducting, entitled 'Gender in/of engineering'. Essentially, this
project seeks to examine in detail how women and men engineers
experience their work, in the hope that this will increase our
understanding of some less obvious aspects of 'gender at work' within
engineering and so contribute to improving the recruitment and retention
of women engineers (please see the project summary below).

As part of this study, I need to interview women and men engineers. The
interviews address such topics as: your choice to become an engineer,
how you experienced engineering education, everyday engineering work,
feelings about working with technology, and images of engineering. They
will take between 1 to 1.5 hours of your time, and can be conducted at a
time and place that are convenient for you.

I am looking for volunteers to be interviewed, preferably engineers
working in companies in Scotland. I can offer nothing back - other than
the opportunity to reflect on topics not routinely aired, and the
promise of contributing to a good cause. But I hope you will be willing
to give me a little of your time to this end.

Please contact me on <w.faulkner> or telephone 0131 650 4069.

Thanking you in anticipation

Dr Wendy Faulkner
Science Studies Unit
University of Edinburgh
21 Buccleuch Place
Edinburgh EH8 9LN

email: w.faulkner

Gender in/of Engineering

Research project summary

This research project looks at how men and women engineers experience
their working lives. It is prompted by evidence which suggests that
engineering continues to be seen as somehow a ‘masculine’ occupation,
and that engineering workplaces may be more comfortable for men than
women – in spite of the growing numbers of women in the profession and
the widespread good will towards them. The study seeks to establish to
what extent these suggestions are true, and to identify what aspects of
engineering work (if any) are more appealing or comfortable for men than
for women.

To this end, the research investigates engineering as a ‘community’ of
practitioners – with its own shared ways of thinking and working, as
well as its own culture (shared humour and the like). I am looking at
how engineers do the job on a day-to-day basis, and trying to understand
what ‘makes them tick’. In this way, I hope to explore whether these
things are different for men and women engineers. For example, are women
and men attracted to engineering for different reasons? Do men and women
engineers have different styles of work? Do they have different sources
of pleasure and dissatisfaction? Or are any such gender differences
actually quite negligible and unimportant within engineering work?

The research is conducted by interviewing individual engineers, and by
job shadowing engineers in companies working in different engineering
fields. Full confidentiality and anonymity of both the companies and
individuals who participate in the study is assured.

It is hoped that this study will provide a more in-depth understanding
than previous research of any taken-for-granted aspects of gender
operating within engineering work (recognising that these may be
off-putting for some men as well as some women). And it is hoped that
this will help identify measures which might make engineering
organisations more inclusive to all, and so aid the recruitment and
retention of more women (and men) in the profession.

I am a sociologist of technology with over twenty years experience of
research and teaching on the management of R&D and innovation in
technology-based industries.

Wendy Faulkner
University of Edinburgh
July 2004

Dr Wendy Faulkner
Science Studies Unit
University of Edinburgh
21 Buccleuch Place
Edinburgh EH8 9LN

email: w.faulkner

Yuwei Lin
Science and Technology Studies Unit (SATSU)
Department of Sociology
University of York

Organization: projekt

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