Women in Engineering

Gender, Power, and Workplace Culture

By Judith S. McIlwee & J. Gregg Robinson

Subjects: Women's Studies
Series: SUNY series in Science, Technology, and Society
Paperback : 9780791408704, 248 pages, February 1992
Hardcover : 9780791408698, 248 pages, February 1992

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Table of contents



1. Women in Engineering: A Promise Unfulfilled?

2. Women's Work and Engineering: Theoretical Issues

3. Paths to Engineering

4. College Experiences

5. Encountering the Engineering Workplace

6. The Culture of Engineering in the Workplace

7. The Family and the Engineering Career

8. Conclusion

Appendix A: Research Methods

Appendix B: Questionnaire and Interview Schedules



Subject Index

Name Index


Who are the women who became engineers in the 1970s and 1980s?

How have they fared in the most male-dominated profession in America? This is the first book to answer these questions. It explores the backgrounds, family lives, work experiences, and attitudes of engineers in order to explain the unequal patterns of career development for women, who generally hold lower positions and receive fewer promotions than their male counterparts. McIlwee and Robinson synthesize two theoretical approaches frequently used to explain the status of women in the workforce—gender role and structural theories—providing new insights into improving women's careers in traditionally male occupations.

Judith S. McIlwee is Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at the University of San Diego. J. Gregg Robinson is Associate Professor at Grossmont College, El Cajon, California.


"This is first-rate sociological scholarship. The authors did an excellent job of integrating theory and data on a very important topic. All too often, research on this topic superficially lumps engineering, science, and math together, and these are very different fields. Or else, the research fails to penetrate the surface beyond description into explanation. The authors make neither of these mistakes.

"It was so well written I often felt like I was reading a novel, yet I was getting a very rich, in-depth picture of what it means to be a woman going through the engineering career development process. This is an important and timely book." — Jeffrey K. Liker, The University of Michigan