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Unformatted text preview: Forum on Public Policy 1 The Blue Blazer Club: Masculine Hegemony in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Fields Melanie C. Page, Lucy E. Bailey and Jean Van Delinder Melanie C. Page, Associate Professor of Psychology, Oklahoma State University Lucy E. Bailey, Assistant Professor of Social Foundations and Qualitative Inquiry, School of Educational Studies, Oklahoma State University Jean Van Delinder, Professor of Sociology, Oklahoma State University Abstract The under-representation of women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields is of continuing concern, as is the lack of women in senior positions and leadership roles. During a time of increasing demand for science and engineering enterprise, the lack of women and minorities in these academic disciplines needs to be addressed by concentrated institutional attention and resources. Although the overall historical gender inequity in earned doctorates is decreasing, women remain underrepresented in scientific and engineering disciplines in the workforce and in faculty positions. Given the gendered patterns evident in engineering and STEM academic disciplines, it is important to consider the factors contributing to these phenomena, including the interplay between work and family constraints in academic careers. Rather than simply male dominance or individual preferences or capacities, this under-representation in STEM is also due to deep seated gender barriers, such as the persistent belief in gender differences in abilities which maintains the status quo and affirms current inequalities as natural. Our paper focuses on hegemonic masculinities in organizations to better understand the institutionalization of gender inequalities. Math Fields Introduction This paper addresses the masculine hegemony of work in informal and formal institutional practices. Hegemonic masculinity refers to the maintenance of practices that institutionalize mens dominance over women (Connell and Messerschmit 2007). Such practices are visible in the following Blue Blazer Club story. In one professional society, each year there is a one day specialty pre-conference before the main conference. Historically, at the end of this day, the leading scholars in the area offer their thoughts on the future of the field. Perhaps not surprisingly given their numerical dominance in academia, in the 1970s and 1980s all of the eminent scholars chosen were men. On one particular day, all of the eminent men happened to be wearing khaki slacks and blue blazers, thus these scholars became known as the Blue Blazer Club. While this may seem a funny joke or harmless commentary on the dress choices of men in the mid-1980s, the fact that for years people allowed the group of eminent scholars to be called the blue blazer club indicates that everyone bought into the belief that the membership in this symbolic club truly was only open to and deserved by those who would wear such an outfit i.e., men and specifically white men of at least middle class (Ely and Meyerson 2000). Like most i....
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- Fall '11