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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
SJR: 0.468 SNIP: 0.671 CiteScore™: 1.65

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

Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.v1.i3.20
pages 193-207

WOMEN SCIENTISTS AND THE NORM OF GENDER NEUTRALITY AT WORK

Margaret Eisenhart
School of Education, UCB 249, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0249

ABSTRACT

It is clear that women have faced a glass ceiling in the U.S. workplace. With the increased vigilance that comes with this knowledge and the many incentives to hire, retain, and promote women, some observers expect the glass ceiling to disappear with time. This article demonstrates that there are reasons to remain concerned. Drawing on data from an 18-month ethnographic study of a nonprofit conservation corporation known for its commitment to employing women scientists, I argue that despite the corporation's reputation as a good place for women to work, its work demands and norms are prototypically male. However, these male characteristics are hidden behind a "norm of gender neutrality " that also pervades this workplace. This norm focuses attention on women's opportunities to do what men have traditionally done, thereby taking for granted the existing work demands and norms of the organization. This cultural system both attracts women scientists to this workplace and blinds them to gendered subordination there.


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