Date of Award

5-2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Civil Engineering

Advisor

Klotz, Leidy

Committee Member

Miller , Shelie

Committee Member

Sanders , Steve

Abstract

Women are underrepresented in engineering education and practice, which limits the quality of the engineering workforce. One way to increase the participation of women in engineering is to emphasize subjects that appeal to them and emphasize skills at which they are especially adept. A subject that may fit this description is sustainability. The purpose of this research is to compare the percentage of women in selected sustainable engineering leadership positions to the percentage of women in general engineering leadership positions, to examine whether the subject of sustainability may help increase participation of women in engineering. Gender data was collected for the 'sustainability leader' at 79 of the largest design and construction companies in the U.S. Similar data was also compiled for engineering faculty attending workshops to share best practices for teaching sustainability. The percentage of women in the sustainability leader industry positions is much higher (39%), than the percentage of women in general management positions (8%). The percentage of woman attending the workshops is much higher (32%) than the percentage of woman engineering faculty (12%). Analysis of these results shows a statistically significant positive correlation between the subject of sustainability and increased percentages of women in engineering leadership positions. Increased consideration of sustainability in engineering education and practice could also help address the critical need to attract more women to the field. Recommendations to expand this research are outlined at a career, college, and pre-college level.

Included in

Engineering Commons

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