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Work in Progress: How Women Develop Their Leadership without Men: Women Engineering Students’ Leadership Development in Homogeneous Women Groups

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2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

LEAD Technical Session 1: Fostering Leadership Identity Development and DEI in Engineering Students and Professionals

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Paper Authors

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John Park Pennsylvania State University

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Dena Lang Pennsylvania State University

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Meg Handley Pennsylvania State University

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Mihee Park Pennsylvania State University

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Gender diversity in management within engineering companies not only yields positive performance outcomes but also improves corporate social responsibility. For women’s career advancement to upper leadership positions in engineering firms, they must be prepared with key leadership competencies. In many engineering organizations, success in leadership and management roles is described in masculine terms and associated with stereotypical male characteristics. Engineering leadership and one’s engineering leadership identity are often portrayed as a masculine practice so that success in leadership in an engineering career often means that women have to learn to lead through a socialized masculine leadership paradigm. Block et al. [3] argued that a gender stereotype-based leadership perspective can be threatening to women and consequently lead to the shortage of women leaders. This masculine leadership paradigm can contribute to disengagement and decreased leadership aspirations for women engineers. Women-only leadership programs have also emerged in academia, industry, and professional organizations and have demonstrated success in increasing women’s preparation, confidence, and advancement into leadership positions. For example, participants of the Oklahoma Career Tech Women in Leadership (OCTWL) program reported being more prepared for leadership and seeing leadership as more of a mindset than a position [4]. Authors reported that participants of the program improved on their leadership self-efficacy and belief that women can be successful in leadership positions. In addition, the Women in Engineering Leadership Institute (WELI) has also held workshops to support the formation of a network of women colleagues and mentors that help participants evaluate future leadership opportunities to succeed in academia. Participants reported that the program helped them to prepare for complex leadership roles by developing critical leadership knowledge and skills.

Park, J., & Lang, D., & Handley, M., & Park, M. (2022, August), Work in Progress: How Women Develop Their Leadership without Men: Women Engineering Students’ Leadership Development in Homogeneous Women Groups Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN. 10.18260/1-2--41742

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