Erin Cech

Areas of Interest: 
Gender, social inequalities, culture, science and engineering


Erin Cech joined the sociology department as an Assistant Professor in 2012. She was recently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University and earned her Ph.D. in Sociology in 2011 from the University of California, San Diego.  She earned undergraduate degrees in Electrical Engineering and Sociology from Montana State University.

Cech's research examines the cultural mechanisms of inequality reproduction-specifically, how inequality is reproduced through processes that are not overtly discriminatory or coercive, but rather those that are built into seemingly innocuous cultural beliefs and practices. She investigates this puzzle through three streams of research. First, she examines what she calls the "self-expressive edge" of occupational sex segregation: how the seemingly voluntary and self-expressive-yet culturally and structurally informed-decisions of men and women reproduce occupational sex segregation.  Second, she uses quantitative and qualitative approaches to examine inequality in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professions-specifically, the recruitment and retention of women, Native Americans, and LGBT individuals, and the role of professional cultures in this inequality. Finally, she studies how cultural understandings of the extent and origin of inequality helps to uphold unequal social structures.  Cech's research has been covered in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Huffington Post, California Daily, Stanford Watch, and the online careers section of Science.

Recent Publications 

Cech, Erin A. and Mary Blair-Loy. (2014). "Consequences of Flexibility Stigma among Science and Engineering Faculty." Work and Occupations. Vol. 41(1):86-110. [link]

Charles, Maria, Bridget Harr, Erin Cech & Ali Hendley. (2014). "Who Likes Math Where? Gender Differences in Eighth-Graders' Attitudes Around the World." International Studies in Sociology of Education. Vol. 24(1): 85-112. [link]

Cech, Erin A. (2014). "Culture of Disengagement in Engineering Education?" Science, Technology & Human Values. Vol. 39(1): 42-72. [link]

Cech, Erin A. (2013). "The Self-Expressive Edge of Occupational Sex Segregation." American Journal of Sociology. Vol. 119(3):747-89  [link]

Cech, Erin A. (2013). "Ideological Wage Inequalities? The Technical/Social Dualism and the Gender Wage Gap in Engineering." Social Forces. Vol. 91(4):1147-1182. [link]

Cech, Erin A. and Tom J. Waidzunas. (2011). "Navigating the Heteronormativity of Engineering: The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Students." Engineering Studies, Vol. 3(1): 1-24. [link]

Cech, Erin, Brian Rubineau, Susan Silbey, and Carroll Seron. (2011). "Professional Role Confidence and Gendered Persistence in Engineering." American Sociological Review, Vol.76(5): 641-66. [link]

Cech, Erin A. and Mary Blair-Loy. (2010). "Perceiving Glass Ceilings? Meritocratic versus Structural Explanations of Gender Inequality among Women in Science and Technology." Social Problems, 57(3): 371-397. [link]



Erin Cech
Assistant Professor Ph.D., University of California, San Diego

Sewall Hall 586
713 348-3242