Implementation of a sexual harassment workshop targeting female engineers

Lisa Rae Volpatti, Cheryl A. Bodnar, Lauren M. Byland

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


While sexual harassment (SH) of women in male-dominated fields was the focus of much research after the publication of Catharine MacKinnon's 1979 book, Sexual Harassment of Working Women: A Case of Sex Discrimination, investigations within this field have become much less frequent in the past decade. Nevertheless, SH continues to be considered an important obstacle in the retention and success of women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The workshop developed and implemented as described in this study helped educate female engineering students on how to recognize situations that could be construed as SH through the provision of a range of "What if..." scenarios. More importantly, it provided strategies to help female engineering students cope with SH through learning from the experiences of professional panelists with expertise in this area. On a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent), the overall impression of the workshop according to participants who took the evaluation survey was 4.74. Moreover, 100% of the survey participants felt that the workshop met their expectations. Furthermore, questions pertaining to perceived informational needs relative to SH were included in a survey administered to all graduating engineering students of a mid-Atlantic university. Almost half of survey respondents indicated that SH was an issue of concern, and 35% felt that more information on how to identify and cope with SH should be available to them as they enter the workforce, indicative of the need to continue offering workshops such as the one described in this study. By sharing the details and positive results of this inaugural workshop, we hope to instill confidence and provide the support necessary to recognize and address sexual harassment. In this way, we aim to increase the retention and general welfare of female engineers in both academic and industrial workplaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes
Event121st ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: 360 Degrees of Engineering Education - Indianapolis, IN, United States
Duration: Jun 15 2014Jun 18 2014


Other121st ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: 360 Degrees of Engineering Education
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityIndianapolis, IN

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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