Chu, Hyejin (2006-08). Being a female engineer: identity construction and resistance of women in engineering schools. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon

abstract

  • Compared to other professions, women's representation in engineering professions is considerably lower than men's, and this particular situated-ness or locality makes women experience a unique process of identity construction. Using qualitative methods - two focus group meetings, nineteen autobiographical essays, and twenty two individual interviews, this research focuses on what women learn from their experiences in engineering school, and how they respond to their perceived experiences. This study proposes to delineate (a) the dynamic interaction between women and the social structure of engineering school; (b) women's perception and conceptualization of the social structure they practice; and (c) women's strategic responses to the structure leading to identity construction. Becoming an engineer is problematic for women because the identity of "engineer" is based upon hegemonic ideas developed by previous generations of engineers - men. This research explores how women, standing in the borderline of being women and being engineers, account and construct their identities as women engineers. Sometimes women are subtly or not subtly coerced; sometimes they embrace dominant ideas; sometimes they creatively resist dominant approaches.
  • Compared to other professions, women's representation in engineering professions
    is considerably lower than men's, and this particular situated-ness or locality makes women
    experience a unique process of identity construction. Using qualitative methods - two
    focus group meetings, nineteen autobiographical essays, and twenty two individual
    interviews, this research focuses on what women learn from their experiences in
    engineering school, and how they respond to their perceived experiences. This study
    proposes to delineate (a) the dynamic interaction between women and the social structure
    of engineering school; (b) women's perception and conceptualization of the social structure
    they practice; and (c) women's strategic responses to the structure leading to identity
    construction. Becoming an engineer is problematic for women because the identity of
    "engineer" is based upon hegemonic ideas developed by previous generations of engineers
    - men. This research explores how women, standing in the borderline of being women and being engineers, account and construct their identities as women engineers. Sometimes
    women are subtly or not subtly coerced; sometimes they embrace dominant ideas;
    sometimes they creatively resist dominant approaches.

publication date

  • August 2006