Gender Bias in Engineering: Does More Contact with Female Engineers Reduce Bias?
Hoeffel, Elizabeth Marie
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Status Characteristics Theory and Contact Theory are tested to measure gender bias in engineering students, and to determine if contact with female engineers helps reduce gender bias. To assess this, two versions of a resume, one with a femaleâ s name and one with a maleâ s name, were given to senior mechanical engineering students (n=225) to establish if they would rate the male applicant better than the female applicant. Respondents were asked how qualified they thought the respondent was, how much they would want the respondent on their team, and whether or not they would hire the applicant. Respondents were also questioned about contact with female engineering faculty, having female engineers in the family, and having female engineering co-workers. Results showed that all of the effects that were expected to occur were not significant, except one. The interaction between having a female engineer in the family and the applicant sex of the resume significantly impacted malesâ desire to have the applicant on their senior design team. Therefore, overall there is very little support for Status Characteristics Theory and Contact Theory. Only one result supports both Status Characteristics Theory and Contact Theory â having a female engineer in the family seems to reduce gender bias toward team members among males.
- Masters Theses