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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10791/24

Title: The Hegemonies and Antagonisms of Sexual Harassment and Sexual Discrimination Discourse in a Professional Engineering Association
Authors: Porter, Janet Marie
Supervisor(s): Mills, Albert J. (Saint Mary's University)
Jugdev, Kam (Faculty of Business, Athabasca University)
Examining Committee: Getzlaf, Beverley (Centre for Nursing & Health Studies, Faculty of Health Disciplines, Athabasca University)
Runte, Mary (University of Lethbridge)
Mirchandani, Kiran (University of Toronto)
Degree: Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)
Department: Faculty of Business
Keywords: Discourse theory
sexual harassment
professional discourses
Issue Date: 17-Mar-2013
Abstract: Around the world, females typically represent fifteen per cent or less of registered professional engineers. They also leave the profession at significantly higher rates than their male counterparts. Incidences of sexual harassment and sexual discrimination continue to be reported in interviews with female graduate engineers. Despite many years of study and initiatives to get more females into engineering, girls and women continue to avoid this profession. Research into the workplace experiences of female engineers tends to neglect organizational and institutional contexts. In particular, there is a lack of attention paid to the ways in which engineering associations, as regulatory bodies in the profession, support their female members. To that end, Laclau and Mouffe’s discourse theory and concept of hegemony were used to open new empirical terrain by providing an account of the sexual harassment and sexual discrimination discourse of the Ontario professional engineering association. It was found that the discourse of sexual harassment and sexual discrimination is hegemonized by the discourses of regulation and the practice of engineering. Critical gender equality issues that academic research has reported for female practitioners inside engineering workplaces, such as sexual harassment and sexual discrimination, are considered outside of the practices of regulation and engineering. Gender work within the association is confined to supporting the female members of the profession and is performed by the female members of the association. This contributes to the maintenance of the status quo, the illusion of gender neutrality, and the privileging of one gender over another in this local setting of the profession. It is recommended that engineering associations examine the effects of hegemonized spaces created by their practices of regulation and professional engineering discourse, particularly in the area of the workplace conditions of its members. It is also recommended that the scope and range of gender equity change actions practiced by engineering associations go beyond mainly providing modes of support for females in the profession.
Graduation Date: Mar-2013
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10791/24
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