Journal Title

Gender & Society

Publication Date

2016

Abstract

How do technically-skilled women negotiate the male-dominated environments of technology firms? This article draws upon interviews with female programmers, technical writers, and engineers of diverse racial backgrounds and sexual orientations employed in the San Francisco tech industry. Using intersectional analysis, this study finds that racially dominant (white and Asian) women, who identified as LGBTQ and presented as gender-fluid, reported a greater sense of belonging in their workplace. They are perceived as more competent by male colleagues and avoided microaggressions that were routine among conventionally feminine, heterosexual women. We argue that a spectrum of belonging operates in these occupational spaces dominated by men. Although white and Asian women successfully navigated workplace hostilities by distancing themselves from conventional heterosexual femininity, this strategy reinforces inequality regimes that privilege male workers. These findings provide significant theoretical insights about how race, sexuality, and gender interact to reproduce structural inequalities in the new economy.

Author Supplied Keywords

race, sexuality, gender inequality, intersectionality, organization theory, technology industry

Subjects

Gender identity in the workplace

DOI

10.1177/0891243216680590

Peer-Reviewed

Yes

Document Type

Journal Article

Published Version

(Available to UP community as permitted)

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