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Beyond Diversity Training: Break These Habits for a Better Workplace

Joan Williams gives companies and individuals practical tools to short-circuit discrimination

3 min read
Photo: Jose Luis Pelaez/Getty Images
Photo: Jose Luis Pelaez/Getty Images

It’s not news that women engineers face biases in many workplaces. However, traditional workplace-mandated diversity training doesn’t make things better. Joan Williams, director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law, in San Francisco, wants to change that. Last year, Williams launched Bias Interrupters, a free set of tools for managers and organizations to correct discriminatory practices—and, hopefully, hire and retain a diverse engineering workplace. She spoke with Katherine Bourzac for IEEE Spectrum:

Katherine Bourzac: What kinds of bias do women engineers experience at work?

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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

His pivot from defense helped a tiny tuning-fork prevent SUV rollovers and plane crashes

11 min read
Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

In 1992, Asad M. Madni sat at the helm of BEI Sensors and Controls, overseeing a product line that included a variety of sensor and inertial-navigation devices, but its customers were less varied—mainly, the aerospace and defense electronics industries.

And he had a problem.

The Cold War had ended, crashing the U.S. defense industry. And business wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. BEI needed to identify and capture new customers—and quickly.

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