The National Science Foundation is spending nearly $550,000 on a 3-year study at the University of Michigan to determine whether male engineering students are causing female students to experience “microagressions” while working in labs and in the classroom, thus discouraging women from pursuing a career in the field of engineering:
The study has received $548,459 in taxpayer funding since it began in September 2014. The project is estimated to continue through August 2017.
The project will involve videotaping engineering classrooms to observe “perceived stereotype threats” against female students.
“The goal of the project is to identify and reliably measure microaggressions in both lab-based and classroom-based engineering student project teams,” the grant said. “The research will test whether exposure to microaggressions increases perceived stereotype threat and diminishes a sense of belonging in engineering for women compared to men, leading to a gender gap favoring men in the important engineering outcomes of learning, performance, and persistence.”
The study hopes to identify “specific types of microaggressions,” such as male students “ignoring women’s contributions or assigning women to less important tasks.” Once the microaggressions are identified, researchers will host student focus groups where they will be shown videos with and without microaggresisons in order to test their “persistence in solving problems.”
Sounds like money well spent.