Masculinity in the Workplace: Iranian Women Engineers’ Navigations of Hyper masculine Work Cultures
Negin Sattari, Ph.D.

This paper delves into the work narratives of women engineers in the Islamic Republic of Iran to gain a better understanding of how gendered constructions of engineering careers are navigated by them. Iran‘s formal labor market is heavily male dominated, and women are systematically discouraged from working in traditionally masculine careers such as engineering. While gender segregation in Iran‘s labor market is mainly discussed in relation to state-imposed patriarchy, this study digs deeper into this issue by exploring the experiences of women who transgress boundaries into masculine careers. Drawing on in-depth interviews with women who work as on-site engineers, I show that these women mainly experience their workplaces as uncontested venues for men‘s performances of hegemonic masculinity. However, their strategies of resilience in face of these struggles were shaped by what I call ―creative participation in the gender system‖ rather than efforts for dismantling gender hierarchies at a macro level. I argue that in contexts where institutional mechanisms for empowering women in the workplace are missing, close attention to such alternative forms of resilience and empowerment are necessary for a realistic understanding of how gender operates in the workplace.

Full Text: PDF      DOI: 10.15640/ijgws.v9n1a3