Selective Incivility, Harassment, and Discrimination in Canadian Sciences & Engineering: A Sociological Approach

Jennifer Dengate, Tracey Peter, Annemieke Farenhorst, Tamara Franz-Odendaal


There is little scholarly evidence describing the gendered and racialized climate faced by women in Canadian academic sciences and engineering (NSE). We address this gap with a sociological examination of selective incivility, harassment, and discrimination amongst NSE faculty from 12 Canadian universities; asking if female and racialized female faculty, in particular, are more likely to experience mistreatment at work than their white, male colleagues. Analyses of survey data indicated that women were significantly more likely to be mistreated by their co-workers and students than male faculty. Moreover, harassment and discrimination were associated with greater professional marginalization for women, including delayed advancement. Thus, taking a sociological approach to interpersonal mistreatment emphasizes the connection between employee interactions and structural gender inequality in male-dominated NSE. We found mixed evidence with respect to race: racialized women reported less co-worker and student mistreatment than their white female counterparts, but these results were only marginally significant; and racialized men reported significantly more harassment and discrimination than white men. As such, our findings suggest the importance of investigating the organizational employment setting to better understand which workers are at greater risk for mistreatment in different job contexts.


Incivility; harassment; STEM faculty; gender; Canada

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