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Live Stream Research Seminar: Professional Culture and Inequality in Engineering

Building on our recent conference on Ethics and Equity in Engineering, we are extending the invitation to our upcoming research seminar to our CoP partners and wider network across Canada. Please fill out the form below to be included when we send out the link just before the talk begins. The live stream, hosted using Periscope, will be viewable through ILead's Twitter feed:

Note: If you are in Toronto and would like to attend in person, please register through the regular event page:

Professional Culture and Inequality in Engineering

Can the culture of engineering reproduce inequality? The professional cultures, which give each discipline its particular “feel” and unite discipline members under a taken-for-granted system of meanings and values, are not benign. I explain how these professional cultures can have built within them disadvantages for women and other under-represented groups in STEM.  Specifically, I discuss the role of three particular cultural ideologies—schemas of scientific excellence, depoliticization, and the meritocratic ideology—in producing disadvantage. I end by explaining why decisions (e.g. admissions, hiring, tenure) that partially rely on assessments of individuals’ “fit” with professional cultures are particularly important to critically examine for their potential to contribute to inequality.

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Dr. Cech is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Michigan. She earned her doctorate in sociology from the University of California, San Diego and undergraduate degrees in electrical engineering and sociology from Montana State University. Her research on inequality in STEM professions focuses on the recruitment and retention of women, LGBTQ, and racial/ethnic minority persons in STEM degree programs and STEM jobs. She is a member of the editorial board of the American Sociological Review. Her research has been cited in The New York Times, The Guardian, Chronicle of Higher Education, Huffington Post, and the news sections of Science and Nature.

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