Date of Award

12-2006

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Education

Major Professor

Kaherine H. Greenberg

Committee Members

Mary Ziegler, Howard Pollio, Barbara Thayer-Bacon, J. Elaine Seat

Abstract

“Scenes from the Margins” is about the experience of women working in male-dominated jobs. Jobs are gendered. They are not gender neutral as we had supposed, as the people who hired us had supposed. Jobs that have traditionally been done by men are done in a masculine way. The masculine “way of working” is not a way that women can work: either it doesn’t fit them (as in what to wear and where’s the restroom) or it doesn’t suit them (as in not conditioned to act that way) or it represents behavior expectations contradictory to expectations for female behavior (as in women should be more assertive but shouldn’t yell).

This is a participatory action research (PAR) study done by women who work in male-dominated professions. It uses feminist theory, participatory inquiry, and collaborative learning as foundations and participatory action research and phenomenological interpretation as methods. It tells the story of our sense of marginalization in our jobs, not because of our credentials or qualifications or even our opportunities to get a job, but because of our gender. It tells the story of nine women who as media producer, engineer, scientist, minister, and/or college professor discovered a common journey and experience. It’s not a story about “what should be” or “how it got that way,” though some foundation is provided for these, but it is one of “what is” and “what we want to do about it now.”

PAR was an opportunity to reflect with other women about what it means to be a woman in each particular life and practice, from a position of gender complementarity/mutuality, reflecting together on how best to use relational skills toward effectiveness and an integration of public and private, thereby creating a Praxis of Womanhood.

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