Public discourses private lives: East and West European Women’s careers in Science, Engineering and Technology.
In: 5th Gender Equality and Higher Education Conference, 28-31 August 2007, Humboldt University Berlin.
This paper will examine the impact of political, economic and social factors in the shaping of women’s perceptions and identities as engineers, scientists and technologists drawing on a series of in depth interviews with women in Poland, Latvia and the UK. In the UK women have been consistently under represented in Science, Engineering and Technology fields both within academia and also in professional employment outside of the university sector. Women’s career progression is also more limited in these occupations with few reaching high level positions. Cultural norms and attitudes reinforce this gender segregation, and despite a plethora of initiatives aimed at redressing the balance, change continues to be slow. However this phenomenon is not universal either historically or geographically – indeed there are significant differences in how gendered occupational segregation has been manifested in different cultures and contexts. This paper will seek to examine the interaction between private and public understandings that women have about their careers in SET using a cross cultural comparison. The experiences of women in the UK, Latvia and Poland present the opportunity to compare the impact of very different social and political frameworks. In addition, narratives from older and younger women who have developed their careers in different contexts, will illustrate how academic disciplines can become differently gendered over time. Methods used were semi structured interviews.
Actions (login may be required)