Gender Discussion

Oguzhan and Kate

In an exercise called the "Bicycle Wheel," revolving pairs of men and women asked and answered questions about gender, sex, personal relationships, schooling, family, and personal and career goals. The separate groups of men and women then brought their group answers together to contrast and compare, learning along the way that there were often as many surprising similarities as differences.

Engineering Issues Addressed

Kate and Stacy
LISTENING

"I hope I'll be more sensitive to people's feelings."

"The gender discussion was the most effective activity -- being a woman, it gave me a glimpse of the male engineer's view."

"Keep open the lines of communication and teamwork when working in a group."

"My awareness became heightened in listening to my group."

Joe and Sarah
COMMUNICATION

"I realized that all engineering students like to contribute so everyone must be addressed."

"This course helped me to understand the tremendous need for communication and its reward. It made me approach people more easily and express my feelings without fear."

"I've seen a microcosm which shows how groups end up at odds, pouting, not listening, and being unproductive. The solution is to talk."

"The most effective discussion was when we split into the male/female circles. I was able to learn that I wasn't the only one who felt a certain way about being in a male-dominated field."

71% of the female participants felt that their communication skills improved as a result of the 1998 gender discussion (an increase from 53% in 1996).

86% of the male participants felt that their communication skills improved as a result of the 1998 gender discussion (an increase from 58% in 1996).

Raluca and Kelly
OPENNESS

"I learn how to become less timid and more open to others."

"Our group was very willing to be honest and work through our difficulties."

"I learned that I can adapt to different environments."

"While speaking with the other women during the gender discussions, I realized that in many ways I was not alone."

Robert and Cheryl
DIVERSITY

"In terms of engineering, I learned the need for defined -- but ever-changing and evolving -- roles."

"We are all different and we come from different backgrounds/experiences to arrive at where we are today. We must remember this and not get hung up in generalizations and stereotypes."

81% of the male participants felt that their ability to work with women increased as a result of the 1998 gender discussion (an increase from 28% in 1996).

Initiatives Raft Building High Ropes
Gender Discussion Hiking and Orienteering Participants Photos