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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
SJR: 0.468 SNIP: 0.905 CiteScore™: 1.65

ISSN Print: 1072-8325
ISSN Online: 1940-431X

Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.v5.i4.60
pages 365-405

ENGINEERING GENDER−GENDERING ENGINEERING: A CULTURAL MODEL FOR BELONGING

Karen L. Tonso
Wayne State University, College of Education #317, Detroid, MI 48202

ABSTRACT

This study describes women's places in an engineering campus culture, discussing (a) how students talked about kinds of student engineers, (b) how cultural identity terms encoded categories for belonging, (c) how teamwork and in-class interactions between and among student engineers cohered to cultural practices, and (d) how the campus-wide system reinforced cultural pasts. In spite of the vast majority of student engineers and faculty espousing progressive ideals for women's full inclusion and for treating women with respect, women's places at Public Engineering School were severely restricted. Women belonged only in the social arenas of Greek societies, not as engineers. Women's experiences on student teams varied in direct relation to the extent to which their male teammates engaged high-status (academic-science-affiliated) cultural identities. The cultural model of campus life marked an intersection of academic science with a culture of romance, but virulent sexist practices flowed with and through the prestige of academic science practices. By producing hierarchical forms of womanhood and manhood appropriate to the campus system, Public Engineering School's engineering education system produced women's subordination.


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