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Title: Gender Equity in Materials Science and Engineering

At the request of the University Materials Council, a national workshop was convened to examine 'Gender Equity Issues in Materials Science and Engineering.' The workshop considered causes of the historic underrepresentation of women in materials science and engineering (MSE), with a goal of developing strategies to increase the gender diversity of the discipline in universities and national laboratories. Specific workshop objectives were to examine efforts to level the playing field, understand implicit biases, develop methods to minimize bias in all aspects of training and employment, and create the means to implement a broadly inclusive, family-friendly work environment in MSE departments. Held May 18-20, 2008, at the Conference Center at the University of Maryland, the workshop included heads and chairs of university MSE departments and representatives of the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Office of Basic Energy Sciences of the Department of Energy (DOE-BES), and the national laboratories. The following recommendations are made based on the outcomes of the discussions at the workshop. Many or all of these apply equally well to universities and national laboratories and should be considered in context of industrial environments as well. First, there should be a follow-up process by which the University Materials Council (UMC)more » reviews the status of women in the field of MSE on a periodic basis and determines what additional changes should be made to accelerate progress in gender equity. Second, all departments should strengthen documentation and enforcement of departmental procedures such that hiring, promotion, compensation, and tenure decisions are more transparent, that the reasons why a candidate was not selected or promoted are clear, and that faculty are less able to apply their biases to personnel decisions. Third, all departments should strengthen mentoring of junior faculty. Fourth, all departments must raise awareness of gender biases and work to eliminate hostile attitudes and environments that can make academic and national laboratory careers unattractive to women. Fifth, with respect to raising awareness among faculty, staff and students, a new type of training session should be developed that would be more effective in conveying the facts and consequences of gender bias than the conventional presentations typically available, which seem not to be highly effective in changing attitudes or behaviors. Sixth, it is proposed that the UMC establish a certification of 'family-friendly' or 'gender equivalent' institutions that would encourage organizations to meet standards for minimizing gender bias and promoting supportive work environments. Seventh, novel approaches to adjusting job responsibilities of faculty, staff, and students to permit them to deal with family/life issues are needed that do not carry stigmas. Finally, faculty and national laboratory staff need to promote the benefits of their careers to women so that a more positive image of the job of materials scientist or materials engineer is presented.« less
Authors:
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1038735
Report Number(s):
Gender Equity in Materials Science and Engineering
TRN: US201209%%95
DOE Contract Number:
FG02-08ER46495
Resource Type:
Other
Research Org:
University of Illinois
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE; USDOE SC Office of Basic Energy Sciences (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
99 GENERAL AND MISCELLANEOUS//MATHEMATICS, COMPUTING, AND INFORMATION SCIENCE; ATTITUDES; DOCUMENTATION; EMPLOYMENT; ENFORCEMENT; ENGINEERS; NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION; PERSONNEL; RECOMMENDATIONS; TRAINING Gender equity; Women's issues; Materials Science and Engineering