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Accessing Inclusivity of Women at NIST: A Comprehensive Examination of HR Data, In-Depth Interviews and Survey Data



Mary Frances Theofanos, Sandra Spickard Prettyman


In the fall of 2019, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) funded three studies to better understand equity and inclusivity. This report is a comprehensive integration and summary of the sequential, exploratory mixed methods study designed to provide an in-depth look at the population of NIST federal employees to identify factors, attitudes, and processes that might result in gender-specific barriers for women at NIST. This final report integrates the findings from the three phases providing a holistic view by focusing on the themes that emerged from the qualitative in-depth interviews and examining the extent to which and in which ways the quantitative survey and human resources data confirm or challenge the qualitative results. An overwhelming theme and feeling of frustration became evident during the examination of the data from the holistic perspective. NIST staff expressed frustration and exhaustion with the focus on women and not other groups, with the entire subject matter of diversity and inclusivity, with the slow pace of change, and some with reverse discrimination. Overall, the three phases align and provide a consistent view on the differences in how women and men experience NIST, the culture, diversity and inclusivity.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 8376
Report Number


Diversity, Inclusivity, Gender, In-Depth Interviews, Survey, Mixed-Methods.


Theofanos, M. and Spickard Prettyman, S. (2021), Accessing Inclusivity of Women at NIST: A Comprehensive Examination of HR Data, In-Depth Interviews and Survey Data, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online],, (Accessed May 29, 2024)


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Created July 6, 2021, Updated November 29, 2022