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Reinventing Gender in Engineering: The (In)visibility Paradox and the Experience of Female Students at the University of São Paulo in São Carlos, Brazil

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Reinventing Gender in Engineering: The (In)visibility Paradox and the Experience of Female Students at the University of São Paulo in São Carlos, Brazil

Martinez, Magdalena (2017) Reinventing Gender in Engineering: The (In)visibility Paradox and the Experience of Female Students at the University of São Paulo in São Carlos, Brazil. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Science and technology scholars, university administrators, and students have all asked: Why are there so few women in engineering? To answer the question, they have focused on the experience of women in the field, their motivations, and the challenges they face in pursuing the profession. Recently, scholars have shifted the focus from the “problem of women” toward “gender in engineering,” a term coined by Wendy Faulkner (2011). Such framing recognizes that gender norms in engineering (the “man engineer”) have influenced the experience of women. Through the concept of the (in)visibility paradox, Faulkner argues that while women are highly visible as women, they are also invisible as engineers. During four months of ethnographic research, I conducted in-depth interviews and participant observation with female engineering students at the University of São Paulo in São Carlos, Brazil. Based on the data collected, I ask: What are the processes through which the visibility and invisibility of female engineering students are performed and established? I attempt to show, on the one hand, the ritualization of gender roles on campus, and, on the other hand, female students’ negotiations of gender roles. To achieve their goals, female students play with their visibility spectrum. In that way, they create a new engineer identity, one that is transitional between man and woman, transcending the “man engineer” identity. Any attempt to control their visibility creates a response from fellow colleagues or professors. In the face of this challenge, women make compromises and change their strategies of adaptation.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Sociology and Anthropology
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Martinez, Magdalena
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Social and Cultural Anthropology
Date:29 August 2017
Thesis Supervisor(s):Cole, Sally
ID Code:982888
Deposited By: MAGDALENA MARTINEZ
Deposited On:10 Nov 2017 14:22
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:55

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