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Gender Differences in Construction Management Students’ Sense of Belonging

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Construction Engineering Division Technical Session 5

Tagged Divisions

Architectural Engineering and Construction Engineering

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Paper Authors


Luciana Debs Purdue University Programs Orcid 16x16

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Luciana Debs, is an Assistant Professor of Construction Management in the School Construction Management Technology at Purdue University. She received her PhD from Purdue University Main Campus, her MS from the Technical Research Institute of Sao Paulo (IPT-SP), and BArch from the University of São Paulo (USP), in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Prior to her current position she worked in design coordination in construction and real estate development companies in Brazil. Her research is mainly focused on integrating design and construction and she is currently coordinating the Design and Construction Integration (DCI) major at Purdue University.

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Bhavya Rathna Kota Purdue University at West Lafayette (PPI) Orcid 16x16

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An enthusiastic Construction Management professional with an Architectural background. My research interests range from collaboration- communication to sustainability and BIM.

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Despite significant efforts being made to recruit and retain women, construction is still a male-dominated industry. Though there have been numerous studies on understanding the barriers and retention strategies of females in the industry and academic programs, very few of those analyzed the issue using a sense of belonging framework. The present paper adds to previous studies with the objective to evaluate gender differences in sense of belonging of undergraduate construction management students, as well as common gender stereotypes of women in construction using a survey approach. This research is a pilot inquiry taking place at the authors’ institution. Our findings show that female students’ sense of belonging is significantly lower than that of male students’. Additionally, our results indicate that both male and female students perceive that there is gender discrimination in the construction industry, though females perceive it at a higher agreement level. Female students also indicate they perceive that recruiters prefer to hire males for jobsite positions, though both female and male students indicated they think women are just as capable in construction and the jobsite. Our findings concur with previous studies on gender differences in construction, yet they provide an interesting benchmark to the sense of belonging of construction students and an updated view of what students’ think about women in construction. Results from this pilot study can be used to help academic institutions and industry to create policies to attract and retain more women in construction domains, and provide construction instructors with recent findings to discuss the role of women in construction nowadays.

Debs, L., & Kota, B. R. (2021, July), Gender Differences in Construction Management Students’ Sense of Belonging Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--37220

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