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Civil Engineering

Also relevant for: Construction Project Management

Course: Civil Engineering, Construction Project Management
Group of courses: Engineering

Teaching/course objectives:

The subject-specific teaching objectives for gender studies and the development of gender competence can be divided into three areas:

  1. Women in professional civil engineering: Redesigning the curriculum in an innovative way, to make this technical degree course seen in the past as a predominantly male area more attractive for women. The aim of this is to increase the percentage of female students and especially female graduates.
  2. Teaching on gender and equality: Teaching (and learning) gender skills in the areas of human resources development, organisational development and quality assurance, with the aim of introducing gender inclusiveness and diversity management for both male and female students and faculty.
  3. Gender in research and teaching: Integrating aspects of gender studies into individual degree content. There are various focal points/directions in civil engineering courses:

    • Construction engineering
    • Water management and environmental technology
    • Infrastructure and traffic planning
    • Construction and construction site management.

Aspects of gender studies are particularly important in the areas of environmental technology and infrastructure and traffic planning. Basic theories and methodologies should be taught in these areas.

Teaching content/subject-specific gender studies content:

Redesigning the curriculum in an innovative fashion is a strategic approach to changing subject cultures traditionally focused purely on technology:

  • Training key skills by means of modules on communication, presentation, mediation, negotiation techniques and social competence. Alongside the technical parts of civil engineering, areas such as environmental compatibility, sustainability, risk management and coordinating and negotiating functions are now key elements of construction planning and realisation. To do justice to these demands in professional life, teaching content related to the construction industry must be combined with the specific learning interests of women.
  • Workshops on specific aspects of the profession in which women are particularly disadvantaged in comparison to men due to traditional gender roles, particularly in practice.
  • Integration of teaching content from the social and natural sciences and intercultural subjects (if necessary, lectures/seminars from other subject areas/degree courses), to provide greater insight into the connections between theory, professional practice and society.

Teaching gender skills so that gender inclusiveness and diversity management can be implemented.

Teaching covers legal, social and application-oriented aspects of gender inclusiveness. Development of strategic approaches to changing subject cultures dominated by technology. Integration of gender knowledge into the various practice areas of the university and the future professional fields of students.

Integration of aspects of gender studies into individual degree content.

Taking needs specific to women into greater account is part of socially compatible and ecological housing planning. In this context, questions of urban structure, dealing with everyday tasks, infrastructure provision and mobility should be addressed for example, developing ideas or policies on the means of transport used primarily by women. Transforming infrastructure is an example of how to improve social gender conditions and develop sustainable gender inclusiveness.

Forms of integration of gender studies content into the curriculum:

1 Modules for transferring key skills can include:

• Communication (professional verbal communication, writing professional texts, verbal presentation of findings, working in and managing project teams, etc.)

• Negotiation techniques and conflict management

• Quality awareness and sustainability

• Holistic and networked planning and action, interdisciplinary work

2 Integrated seminars for various degree courses, e. g. optional courses with social and natural science content (history of engineering, ethics, etc.)

3 Teaching gender skills can be integrated into subject modules. However, as long as knowledge of gender mainstreaming, diversity management etc. is only rudimentary or even non-existent, we suggest introductory workshops on these subjects for students in the first weeks of the degree courses. The objective is to explain what the different concepts mean and teach students how to use their gender skills as a key competence in their future professions.

4 Training faculty to develop specific measures for gender mainstreaming in teaching and research.

5 Mentoring programme: putting female students in touch with experienced professional women to prepare them better for their future work. The construction sector is typically dominated by men, and this affects the forms of work, organisation and communication. As a result, women have less chance to pursue careers in this field. Dialogue with women who have had successful careers in the construction sector is therefore particularly important. Female students who want to start or build a career in construction, or move into this area, need targeted expert advice. The aim is to help them develop their own career plans and work out how they are going to actually achieve them.

6 Subject-specific issues in gender studies should be integrated into individual modules in traffic planning, housing planning, environmental planning, etc. Until we can be sure that the relevant theories are always being taught i.e. theories on the perception of gender roles and the significance of social gender for the different planning areas a separate module can be offered on gender in planning, e. g. "Mobility and gender" or "Gender in environmental planning".

Degree stage:

Training in gender competence and key skills should take place as part of the Bachelor's degree. Ideally, this content should be provided as early as possible (in the initial semesters), so that the skills acquired can be applied during the degree course and not just in professional practice.

Mentoring programmes are more useful in the last semester/year of the Bachelor's course and during Master's courses. Only mentoring that continues after the end of the degree and in the initial career years can provide effective support for women's career development in the construction sector.

The content of subject-specific gender studies should be taught in the 2nd/3rd year of Bachelor's degrees. This knowledge can be extended by integrating gender aspects into projects as part of Master's degrees.

Keywords:

Construction, Planning, Civil Engineering, Construction Project Management, Computational Engineering, Structual Engineering, Rehabilitation Engineering, Facility Management, Industrial Engineering, Architecture

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Provided by
Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Bettina Mons
Fachhochschule Bielefeld
Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering
bettina.mons[at]fh-bielefeld.de

More experts for the subject
Prof. Dr. Carmen Leicht-Scholten