Navigating the gender structure in IT: examining women’s experiences and behaviors

Etlyn Kenny, Rory Donnelly

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Information Technology (IT) is an increasingly male-dominated field of work, posing a growing global challenge for gender equality ambitions. Women working in IT are therefore faced with navigating an extremely gendered working environment. Theories focusing on gender as an institution and as a social structure infer that women have little or no choice but to comply with firmly established work and career scripts, which may affect their wellbeing. However, emerging evidence would suggest that women in tech are increasingly pressing for change and may be using their agency and minority status to improve the working life of women in IT. Thus we seek to shed new light on the behaviors of these insiders. Original primary data were collected through in-depth semi-structured interviews with 57 female IT workers in the UK. The thematic analysis of the data reveal how the sampled women navigate gendered social structures and how they effect aspects of their gendered identities as female IT professionals. The findings enable contributions to the refinement of structural perspectives on gender by casting light on women’s efforts to subvert gendered structures and identities in IT and improve their position as tech women.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAcademy of Management. Annual Meeting Proceedings
Issue number1
Early online date9 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018
Event78th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, AOM 2018 - Chicago, United States
Duration: 10 Aug 201814 Aug 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Management of Technology and Innovation
  • Industrial relations


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