Philippine News Item

Identity of Engineering Expertise: Implicitly Biased and Sustaining the Gender Gap | Journal of Civil Engineering Education


Experts bring necessary comprehensive and authoritative knowledge to address issues as they arise throughout a project. This expertise is critical for construction and engineering organizations because the characteristics of each project are dynamic and unique. Practitioners often perceive expertise as objective across demographics; however, this study demonstrates that it is subjective, and that gender-implicit biases emerge when organization personnel rate the expertise of others. This study used survey data spanning 279 employees from one construction and engineering company. The results revealed that men were more likely than women to receive higher expertise ratings. Further, this study found that men were likely to rate women’s expertise lower than men’s expertise, while women’s ratings on expertise show only marginal differences based on gender. The gender-implicit biases found within one large construction and engineering company in this study may be typical in the industry more widely. Finally, this research contributes to role congruity theory by showing the alignment and misalignment between expertise roles and gender roles.

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