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SIG Gender and Diversity:

Wednesday, 6 October (note: World Mental Health day is 10 October)

17:00 – 18:30 GMT (UK) / 18:00 – 19:30 CEST (EU) / 12:00 – 13:30 EST (US)

Mental health and diversity and inclusion (D&I) are closely connected. Engineering students from diverse backgrounds can face lack of representation, microaggressions, bias, and other stressors that impact their mental health, psychological safety, and sense of belonging. Initiatives that support diversity, inclusion, and belonging can also support mental health – and vice versa.

in 2019, Equal Engineers UK[1] carried out a survey that explored how the culture of engineering is affected by the stereotype of what an engineer looks like. Over a third of engineers would describe their mental health as fair or poor, and over a fifth have had to take time off work because of it. Over two thirds of engineers said they do not feel included in the culture they work in.

Engineering degrees are often considered to be challenging and competitive, and the stress and struggle experienced by students during study can be perceived as a sign of strength, determination and inevitability. This is particularly worrying given that the ‘engineering culture’ is still associated with (toxic) masculinity, and the majority of students that study engineering fall within high-risk groups (i.e. young males), as well as the poorer mental health associated with minority groups within engineering.

Such concerns have been highlighted further recently as a result of COVID-19 and is of particular significance given the growing need for engineers, as well as the expectations placed on graduates to demonstrate resilience and flexibility.  

As World Mental Health Day approaches, we invite you to listen and reflect upon some of the issues faced by students who study engineering.

Speakers (all confirmed)

  • Karin Jensen (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, US)
  • Isabel Gonçalves (Instituto Superior Técnico, Portugal)
  • Jo-Anne Tait (Robert Gordon University Aberdeen, UK)


  • Natalie Wint (Swansea University, UK)
  • Inês Direito (University College London, UK)


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