Everyday Experiences of Sexism in Male-dominated Professions: A Bourdieusian Perspective

Abigail Powell*, Kate Sang

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    56 Citations (Scopus)
    624 Downloads (Pure)


    The under-representation of women in the UK engineering and construction sectors seems resolute. Using a Bourdieusian lens, this article examines the persistence of everyday sexism and gender inequality in male-dominated professions. Bringing together findings from three research projects with engineering and construction industry students and professionals, we find that women experience gendered treatment in everyday interactions with peers. Patterns of(mis)recognition and resistance are complex, with some women expressing views which reproduce and naturalise gender inequality. In contrast, other women recognise and resist such essentialism through a range of actions including gender equity campaigning. Through a Bourdieusian analysis of the everyday, this article calls into question existing policy recommendations that argue women have different skills that can be brought to the sector. Such recommendations reinforce the gendered nature of the engineering and construction sectors’ habitus and fail to recognise how the underlying structures and practices of the sector reproduce gendered working practices.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)919-936
    Number of pages18
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015


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