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Den raka och den krokiga vägen: om genus, ingenjörer och teknikkarriärer
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Karlstad Business School.
2015 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Straight roads and winding roads : on gender, engineers, and technology careers (English)
Abstract [en]

Abstract

 

The purpose of this doctoral thesis is to shed light on, explain, and problematize women’s and men’s paths both to and within the profession of engineer. Computer and mechanical engineers are in focus and the overarching issues that this thesis attempts to answer are: How can women’s and men’s paths to the profession of engineer be explained and what has governed/motivated their choice of education? How do women’s and men’s career patterns look in professional life, and how can these patterns be explained?

 

This study is based on a social-constructivistic approach, entailing a focus on how choices of education and profession have been negotiated through social and cultural practices, norms, and values. The thesis combines work science research with research into the gender and technology fields. In particular, the relationships between gender, technology, and labour market gender segregation are of key importance in this thesis. The four part studies of the thesis are based on three qualitative studies and on one quantitative study. The qualitative studies consist of interview surveys with a total of 24 computer and mechanical engineers and 22 IT consultants. The quantitative survey is an exhaustive survey of 3,662 working IT engineers.

 

My studies show that the career patterns of women and men in the profession of engineer differ. Men’s paths both to and within the profession tend to be “straight” while women’s are often “winding”. The thesis shows that historically established, often stereotypical, conceptions of gender contribute towards recreating these different paths for women and men. At the same time, tendencies towards change are indicated. This is made visible through a gradually changing view of both father- and parenthood, which in and of itself is creating new prerequisites for women and men in working life. In concluding, the thesis proposes a new term, technology career, as an analytical tool for continued studies of gender segregation in technology and engineering professions. The aim in using this term is to capture the social complexity and cultural dynamic as regards how technology and gender are co-produced.

Abstract [sv]

 

”Jag har ju en yngre bror som har stöttat mig i det här. Han har ju samma utbildning som jag men han valde ju rätt med en gång [   ] han gick mera den raka vägen än min krokiga.”

 

Såhär säger Kristina om sin väg till ingenjörsutbildningen och till ingenjörsyrket. Till skillnad från hennes yngre bror var hennes väg ”krokig”, medan hans var ”rak”. Denna avhandling tar sig an den könssegregering i ingenjörsutbildningar och i ingenjörsyrket som Kristinas berättelse återspeglar. I fokus står data- och maskingenjörer. Detta är två av de mest könssegregerade ingenjörsgrenarna, och betraktas ofta som ”mansyrken”. Genom såväl kvalitativa intervjuer med ingenjörer och en kvantitativ totalundersökning av över 3000 ingenjörers karriärmönster, undersöker avhandlingen vilka tecken på förändring som syns i ingenjörsyrkets könssegregering. Vilka är hindren för kvinnor att ta plats inom yrket, och vilka möjligheter finns?

 

Line Holth är forskare i arbetsvetenskap och verksam vid Handelshögskolan och Centrum för genusforskning vid Karlstads universitet. Detta är hennes doktorsavhandling.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstad University Press, 2015. , 129 p.
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2015:42
Keyword [en]
Gender, technology, gender stereotypes, choice of education, gender segregation, working life, fatherhood, masculinities, technology careers, IT engineers, mechanical engineers
Keyword [sv]
genus, teknik, könsstereotyper, utbildningsval, könssegregering, arbetsliv, faderskap, maskuliniteter, teknikkarriärer, IT-ingenjörer, maskiningenjörer
National Category
Work Sciences
Research subject
Working Life Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-37822ISBN: 978-91-7063-660-8 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-37822DiVA: diva2:850816
Public defence
2015-10-09, Erlandersalen, 11D 227, Universitetsgatan 1, 651 88, 14:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-09-25 Created: 2015-09-02 Last updated: 2015-10-01Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Revisiting Engineering, Masculinity and Technology Studies: Old Structures with New Openings
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Revisiting Engineering, Masculinity and Technology Studies: Old Structures with New Openings
2011 (English)In: International Journal of Gender, Science, and Technology, ISSN 2040-0748, Vol. 3, no 2, 313-329 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this article we draw broadly on two different research traditions, Gender and Technology Studies (GTS) and studies of gender equality policies in the welfare state, to explain gendered change and stability in the engineering work force in Sweden. Our results draw on a series of qualitative investigations of the engineering workforce over a period of twenty years, and verify change as well as stability. In particular, we locate change in relation to new parenting and fathering discourses. We argue that these discursive changes have profound consequences for work-life balance, and career and life preferences for a new generation of men in the engineering workforce. By revisiting some of the formative assumptions of GTS in regard to the conceptual triad of engineering, masculinity and technology, we also identify the slowness of change in the strong material and symbolic relationship between technology and masculinity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
The Open University, 2011
Keyword
Engineering; masculinity; technology; gender equality; fathering.
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Gender Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-12475 (URN)
Available from: 2012-11-08 Created: 2012-03-22 Last updated: 2015-09-25Bibliographically approved
2. Career patterns for IT engineering graduates
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Career patterns for IT engineering graduates
2013 (English)In: Economic and Industrial Democracy, ISSN 0143-831X, E-ISSN 1461-7099, Vol. 34, no 3, 519-535 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Abstract

Women constitute a clear minority in the field of information and communications technology (ICT) in higher education as well as in the job market. At the same time, this field is expected to have a shortage of qualified people in the future. Do women and men engineering graduates have the same career opportunities? This article problematizes the relationship between higher education in engineering and opportunities on the job market. The results show that men reach higher positions to a greater extent than women, and that women remain in low-qualification jobs to a greater extent than men.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
SAGE: SAGE Open, 2013
Keyword
Gender segregation, higher education, information and communications technology (ICT)
National Category
Work Sciences
Research subject
Working Life Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-29262 (URN)10.1177/0143831X13492832 (DOI)000323831800009 ()
Projects
Jämväxt
Available from: 2013-10-03 Created: 2013-10-03 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
3. Passionate men and rational Women: Gender contradictions in engineering
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Passionate men and rational Women: Gender contradictions in engineering
2014 (English)In: Norma, ISSN 1890-2138, E-ISSN 1890-2146, Vol. 9, no 2, 97-110 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The dualism of rational/irrational and its relationship with masculinity and femininity has for a long time functioned as a process of including men in and excluding women from the fields of technology and engineering. This article highlights individuals, life stories, and everyday practices that deviate from this stereotypical division in order to pave the way for more diversified perceptions of the gender practices performed in engineering, specifically in relation to the place that technology has when women and men choose a career in engineering. Contradictory examples may thus serve to undermine the processes and the generalization perpetuating the stereotypical and prevalent perceptions of women and men and serve to challenge essential assumptions of gender and technology. The findings show that there are significant differences between the gender stereotypes of the engineer and engineers in reality, and that the ideology of rational men and irrational women in engineering is mistaken. This underlines the fact that neither gender nor technology is a constant or a given, but that it should continuously be reinterpreted. The empirical data consists of the life stories of 46 computer and mechanical engineers, 26 of whom are women and 20 men.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2014
Keyword
technology, engineers, dualism, stereotypes, career choice
National Category
Work Sciences
Research subject
Working Life Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-38002 (URN)10.1080/18902138.2014.908629 (DOI)
Available from: 2015-09-22 Created: 2015-09-22 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
4. Gender, availability and dual emancipation in the Swedish ICT sector
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Gender, availability and dual emancipation in the Swedish ICT sector
2017 (English)In: Work, Employment and Society, ISSN 0950-0170, E-ISSN 1469-8722, Vol. 31, no 2, 230-247 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Set in the context of the Swedish state’s agenda of dual emancipation for women and men, the article shows how a global ICT consultancy company’s formal gender equality goal is undermined by competing demands. Employing the concept of availability, in preference to work–life balance, the research found women opted out of roles requiring high degrees of spatial and temporal availability for work, in favour of roles more easily combined with family responsibilities. Such choices led to poor career development, plus the loss of technological expertise and confidence.These outcomes were at odds with the company’s gender equality aims, as well as government objectives to make it easier for women and men to combine work and family, and increase the number of women within ICT.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2017
Keyword
availability, dual emancipation, gendered division of labour, ICT, IT consultants, work and family, work–life balance
National Category
Work Sciences
Research subject
Working Life Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-38003 (URN)10.1177/0950017016651378 (DOI)
Note

This article was published as manuscript in Line Holths doctoral thesis.

Available from: 2015-09-22 Created: 2015-09-22 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved

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