Engineering Identity: Gender and Professional Identity Negotiation among Women Engineers

Engineering Identity: Gender and Professional Identity Negotiation among Women Engineers This article considers how women in a gendered profession, engineering, construct their professional identity in response to workplace interpersonal interactions that marginalize it. Using data from interviews with women engineers, it also explores how these interactions influence the engineers' sense of self and belonging in engineering. The interpersonal interactions place professional identity on the periphery and can overly validate gender identity. I discuss two types of identity construction strategies employed by the participants in response to these marginalizing interactions: impression management tactics and coping strategies. Although the data demonstrate that participants may be left feeling devalued or ambivalent towards their identity or fit in engineering, some interactions are more validating and offer a sense of belonging. This article also reflects on how the engineers' actions may, in fact, represent forces for change in the gendered culture of engineering. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Gender, Work & Organisation Wiley

Engineering Identity: Gender and Professional Identity Negotiation among Women Engineers

Gender, Work & Organisation, Volume 20 (4) – Jul 1, 2013

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
© 2012 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
ISSN
0968-6673
eISSN
1468-0432
D.O.I.
10.1111/j.1468-0432.2012.00589.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This article considers how women in a gendered profession, engineering, construct their professional identity in response to workplace interpersonal interactions that marginalize it. Using data from interviews with women engineers, it also explores how these interactions influence the engineers' sense of self and belonging in engineering. The interpersonal interactions place professional identity on the periphery and can overly validate gender identity. I discuss two types of identity construction strategies employed by the participants in response to these marginalizing interactions: impression management tactics and coping strategies. Although the data demonstrate that participants may be left feeling devalued or ambivalent towards their identity or fit in engineering, some interactions are more validating and offer a sense of belonging. This article also reflects on how the engineers' actions may, in fact, represent forces for change in the gendered culture of engineering.

Journal

Gender, Work & OrganisationWiley

Published: Jul 1, 2013

References

  • The primacy of age and sex in the structure of person categories
    Brewer, Brewer; Liu, Liu
  • Gendered organizations: progress and prospects
    Britton, Britton; Logan, Logan
  • Frontier masculinity in the oil industry: the experience of women engineers
    Miller, Miller

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