If I ignore it, maybe it will go away: how Russian engineering students perceive the gender inequality issue
This study investigates how gender inequality in engineering is reproduced in the discourses of Russian engineering undergraduates. The empirical data come from interviews with 22 women and 22 men enrolled in undergraduate engineering programs at six Russian universities. We employ discourse analysis to connect the student narratives about gender differences with participants’ situated identities and the gender stereotypes in Russian society. The analysis demonstrates that gender inequality in engineering is reproduced by both faculty and students through communicating low expectations for women. Although the interviewees noticed a problem of gender discrimination in faculty treatment and relations among classmates, none of our participants openly acknowledged that this problem requires special attention or a solution by university administrators. Young women enrolled in engineering majors may take the position of ignoring or refusing to consider discrimination as a negative phenomenon to cope with negative emotions.