Researching Cultures in Science, Engineering and Technology: An analysis of current and past literature

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This review aims to synthesise the extant knowledge on the structures, processes and systems that maintain gender inequality in Science, Engineering and Technology (SET). The review collates, reviews and puts into a wider theoretical context the available body of evidence addressing the cultures, structures, behaviours and systems within different SET occupations and sectors, and their possible impact on the exclusion and underachievement of women. The literature is organised around three key themes identified in SET cultures, although it is recognised that there are multiple overlaps between the categories: 1) Individualised cultures, which includes a discussion of increasing competition between companies and employees, lack of unionisation in SET occupations, the tendency for individually agreed pay and contracts, and individualised training and learning in the workplace; 2) Sexualised cultures, where women are equated with biologically determinist definitions of their sex, and women’s sexual identity is placed at the fore in the cultures of SET organisations; and 3) Single-Gendered cultures, which refers to the subjective, symbolic association between traditional notions of masculinities and femininities and cultural norms prevalent in SET organisations (including the inconsistent relationship between policies and cultures; the long-hours culture prevalent in SET; the conflict between family and work; gender stereotyping; socialisation and identity; and networking and the career ladder). The report concludes with a discussion of important some ideas and suggestions for future research.
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Bagilhole, Barbara
Powell, Abigail
Barnard, Sarah
Dainty, Andrew
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