AbstractGlobally, women are a minority in the engineering profession. Various initiatives are adopted by employers to support women’s career progression and retention in the profession. This paper examines the effectiveness of the common initiatives. Focus groups were conducted with 25 New Zealand based female engineers to explore their experiences and perceptions of women in engineering initiatives. Women discussed the effectiveness, and unintended consequences, of the initiatives. Their responses were coded using the NVivo software to identify key themes, which were then categorized using the universal/selective/indicated model. The findings show that universal initiatives which encompass men and women are well supported with few unintended consequences. These initiatives (e.g., subconscious bias training) focus less on changing or supporting women and more on changing the environment. In contrast, selective initiatives (e.g., female leadership programs) which focus on women, had mixed support and more unintended consequences. Specifically, they emphasize societal stereotypes that men are a better fit for the role of engineer and that women need help to adapt to the male-dominated environment. This study concludes with recommendations for employers to implement that will increase the participation and advancement of women in engineering.

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