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Expanding engineering limits - culture, diversity, and gender

This guide supports the Stanford University course, "Expanding Engineering Limits: Culture, Diversity, and Gender" (ENGR/FEMGEN 311). It serves as a starting point for research on how engineers use theories of intersectionality, design thinking, and workflows to cultivate inclusive, flexible work cultures that produce sustainable and ethical solutions to engineering problems.


In this guide, the term workforce is used to categorize resources that relate to the education, the management, and the cultures of the people who are training for and work in engineering and technology fields. Resources under this heading include a broad array of topics that expand perspectives on diversity, intersectionality and gender dynamics in engineering workplaces, ecucational settings and institutions. Subtopics include: human relations, management sectors, race, gender, gender identity and institutional change that fosters cultures of inclusion and workplace atmospheres that attend to human dignity.

Keywords for searching

bias, belonging, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, LGBTQ, opportunities, organizational culture, personhood, preparation/education, race, stereotype/ depiction of..,socioeconomic class, workforce dynamics. 


Select journal articles

Ayre, Mary, Julie Mills, and Judith Gill. 2013. "'Yes, I Do Belong’: The Women Who Stay in Engineering." Engineering Studies 5 (3): 216–32. doi:10.1080/19378629.2013.855781.

Buzzanell, Patrice M., Ziyu Long, Lindsey B. Anderson, Klod Kokini, and Jennifer C. Batra. 2015. "Mentoring in Academe A Feminist Poststructural Lens on Stories of Women Engineering Faculty of Color." Management Communication Quarterly 29 (3): 440–57. doi:10.1177/0893318915574311.

Correll, Shelley J., Stephen Benard, and In Paik. 2007. "Getting a Job: Is There a Motherhood Penalty?" American Journal of Sociology 112 (5): 1297–1338. doi:10.1086/511799.

Dobbin, Frank, and Alexandra Kalev. 2016. "Why Diversity Programs Fail." Harvard Business Review. July 1.

Faulkner, Wendy. 2009. "Doing Gender in Engineering Workplace Cultures. I. Observations from the Field." Engineering Studies 1 (1): 3–18. doi:10.1080/19378620902721322.

Hughes, Roxanne M. 2012. "The Process of Choosing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Careers by Undergraduate Women: A Narrative Life History Analysis." ProQuest Information & Learning (US).

Kanny, M. A., L. J. Sax, and T. A. Riggers-Pieh. 2014. "Investigating Forty Years of Stem Research: How Explanations for the Gender Gap Have Evolved over Time." Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering 20 (2). doi:10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.2014007246.

Mihaljević-Brandt, Helena, Lucía Santamaría, and Marco Tullney. 2016. "The Effect of Gender in the Publication Patterns in Mathematics." PLOS ONE 11 (10): e0165367. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0165367.

Nathan, Max, and Neil Lee. 2013. "Cultural Diversity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship: Firm-Level Evidence from London." Economic Geography 89 (4): 367–94. doi:10.1111/ecge.12016.

Newcomer, Jason M., Patti J. Clark, Dixie K. Button, and Linda V. Weiland. 2016. “Gender Diversity in Aircraft Maintenance: A Cross-Sectional Triangulation of Male Perspectives.” Journal of Gender Studies 0 (0): 1–13. doi:10.1080/09589236.2016.1243046.

Rivera, Lauren A., and András Tilcsik. 2016. “Class Advantage, Commitment Penalty: The Gendered Effect of Social Class Signals in an Elite Labor Market.” American Sociological Review 81 (6): 1097–1131. doi:10.1177/0003122416668154.

Sax, Linda J., M. Allison Kanny, Jerry A. Jacobs, Hannah Whang, Dayna S. Weintraub, and Amber Hroch. 2016. “Understanding the Changing Dynamics of the Gender Gap in Undergraduate Engineering Majors: 1971-2011.” Research in Higher Education 57 (5): 570–600. doi:

Stachowiak, Dana M. 2016. “Queering It Up, Strutting Our Threads, and Baring Our Souls: Genderqueer Individuals Negotiating Social and Felt Sense of Gender.” Journal of Gender Studies 0 (0): 1–12. doi:10.1080/09589236.2016.1150817.

Williams, Joan C. 2014. “Hacking Tech’s Diversity Problem.” Harvard Business Review. October 1.

“Women in Science: Quarterly Thematic Publication, Issue I, March 2015; 2015.” 2016. Accessed December 9.


This section includes resources that point to concepts of inclusion within design theory that unpack conscious considerations for diverse poplutions, including race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, cultures, and abilities as an integral part of the design process. These sources point to the methodologies that intend to solve engineering problems through the utilitzation of desgin thinking and social science methods. It includes resources on ethnographic field work for understanding the communities of creators and users of an engineering solution as an integrated part of the innovation and production process.

Keywords for searching

critical thinking, design process, design thinking, engineering design- socal aspects, iterative process, interactive process, problem solving, teams-teamwork, usability - use, usefulness, versioning, visualization.

Journal articles

Agid, Shana. “Worldmaking: Working through Theory/Practice in Design.” Design and Culture 4, no. 1 (March 1, 2012): 27–54. doi:10.2752/175470812X13176523285110.

Bairaktarova, Diana, William Z. Bernstein, Tahira Reid, and Karthik Ramani. 2016. “Beyond Surface Knowledge: An Exploration of How Empathic Design Techniques Enhances Engineers Understanding of Users’ Needs.” International Journal of Engineering Education 32 (1): 111–22.

de, Andrade Romualdo. 2016. "Team Igniter an Adaptive Toolkit to Guide and Leverage Collaboration in Teams Seeking to Problem-Solve and Innovate." Order No. 10117700, Rochester Institute of Technology.

Kaygan, Pınar. 2016. “Gender, Technology, and the Designer’s Work: A Feminist Review.” Design and Culture 8 (2): 235–52. doi:10.1080/17547075.2016.1172862.

Owen, Charles. 2007. “Design Thinking: Notes on ins nature and Use”. Design Research Quarterly, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 16-27.

Razzouk, Rim, and Valerie Shute. 2012. “What Is Design Thinking and Why Is It Important?” Review of Educational Research 82 (3): 330–48. doi:10.3102/0034654312457429.

Walton, Gregory M., Christine Logel, Jennifer M. Peach, Steven J. Spencer, and Mark P. Zanna. 2015. “Two Brief Interventions to Mitigate a ‘chilly Climate’ Transform Women’s Experience, Relationships, and Achievement in Engineering.” Journal of Educational Psychology 107 (2): 468–85. doi:10.1037/a0037461.

Methods & Theory

This section has resources on social science methods and theory. This section is intended to be of use to engineers and engineering students who want to include social science methodologies and theories into their research projects for problem solving.

Keywords for searching

diversity (race & gender identities, socioeconomic status),empathy, ethnography, evaluation, feminism, inclusion, intersectionality, observation, participant observation, quality assessments, survey(s).

Journal articles

Gerdes, Anne. 2014. “What and Whose Values in Design?: The Challenge of Incorporating Ethics into Collaborative Prototyping.” Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society 12 (1): 18–20. doi:10.1108/JICES-11-2013-0054.

Heilbroner, Robert L. 1967. “Do Machines Make History?” Technology and Culture 8 (3): 335–45. doi:10.2307/3101719.

Jackson, J. Kasi. “Gender, Mad Scientists and Nanotechnology.” Spontaneous Generations: A Journal for the History and Philosophy of Science 2, no. 1 (January 26, 2009): 45. doi:10.4245/sponge.v2i1.3516.

Joerges, Bernward. 1999. “Do Politics Have Artefacts?” Social Studies of Science 29 (3): 411–31. doi:10.1177/030631299029003004.

Rosser, Sue Vilhauer. 2005. “Through the Lenses of Feminist Theory: Focus on Women and Information Technology.” Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies 26 (1): 1–23. doi:10.1353/fro.2005.0015.

Vaughan, Diane. 1990. “Autonomy, Interdependence, and Social Control: NASA and the Space Shuttle Challenger.” Administrative Science Quarterly 35 (2): 225–57. doi:10.2307/2393390.

Westbrook, Laurel, and Aliya Saperstein. 2015. “New Categories Are Not Enough Rethinking the Measurement of Sex and Gender in Social Surveys.” Gender & Society 29 (4): 534–60. doi:10.1177/0891243215584758.

Winner, Langdon. 1980. “Do Artifacts Have Politics?” Daedalus 109 (1): 121–36. Accessed at:

Woolgar, Steve, and Geoff Cooper. 1999. “Do Artefacts Have Ambivalence? Moses’ Bridges, Winner’s Bridges and Other Urban Legends in S&TS.” Social Studies of Science 29 (3): 433–49. Accessed at

Human subject research & IRB

Human subject research and IRB (Institutional Review Board)

In the webpage you will find information about the guidelines for using human subjects for non-medical research. 


This is a mixture of selected research databases that cover social science and science & engineering related disciplines with content on gender and diversity topics.

Ipswich, Mass. : EBSCO Pub., c2005-
Stanford Libraries » Online resource » eResource
[England] : Design Documentation
Stanford Libraries » Online resource » eResource
[S.l.] : UMI
Stanford Libraries » Online resource » eResource
[Washington, DC : National Library of Education?, 199?-
Stanford Libraries » Online resource » eResource
Hoboken, N.J. : Elsevier Engineering Information, Inc.
Stanford Libraries » Online resource » eResource
[Stamford, CT] : Softline Information, Inc., [1998 or 1999]-
Stanford Libraries » Online resource » eResource
Alexandria, Va. : American Geological Institute,
Stanford Libraries » Online resource » eResource
[Piscataway, N.J.?] : IEEE, c1998-
Stanford Libraries » Online resource » eResource
Ann Arbor, MI : Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research
Stanford Libraries » Online resource » eResource
Stanford Libraries » Online resource » eResource
[Thousand Oaks, Calif. ] : SAGE Publications.
Stanford Libraries » Online resource » eResource
[New York] : Elsevier, 2004-
Stanford Libraries » Online resource » eResource
[Philadephia, Pa.] : Institute for Scientific Information
Stanford Libraries » Online resource » eResource
[San Diego, etc., Sociological Abstracts, inc.]
SAL3 (off-campus storage) » Stacks » HM1 .S67 V.52:NO.6 2004


Green Library » Lane Reading Room: Reference » Q130 .W63 2014 V.1
  • Volume 1. Women in science and technology
  • Volume 2. Body Politics : science and medicine define sex and gender
  • Volume 3. Gender bias in science and technology
  • Volume 4. Gendered innovations : creating science and technology
Stanford Libraries » Online resource » eResource

Data & statistical sources

Women in Science: UNESCO Institute for Statistics

UNESCO - Women In Science Interactive



Winter Draft 2017 Syllabus 

Winter 2017 Syllabus