Shaping Engineers, Making Gender Politics: Swedish Universities of Technology and the Creation of a Policy Field, 1976–1998

Sammanfattning: Despite a global reputation as a gender-equal nation, the labour market in Sweden is segregated. This particularly applies to engineering. Five decades of national gender equality policies and engineering recruitment campaigns have only partially transformed the situation. This thesis combines the study of two parallel and interlinked phenomena: the development of Swedish engineering education and profession, and the evolution of a national gender equality policy field. It examines how the Swedish engineering profession – represented by the universities of technology – from the mid-1970s, responded to demands from both national policies and from within the engineering communities. The push to act went in two directions; national policies pressured universities of technology to take measures, and representatives from the engineering communities often shaped gender equality policies. How engineering educators steered definitions of gender equality and the corresponding solutions in directions that suited their professional needs are at the heart of the analysis here. Drawing on previously unexplored archival sources and interviews and deploying a theoretical framework of professional boundary work (Thomas F. Gieryn), the dissertation argues that the Swedish male-dominated engineering profession, represented by their technical universities, conducted gender equality politics. The study adds to an emerging international research field on the history of gendered engineering (e.g. Amy Sue Bix, Nathan Ensmenger, Laura Ettinger, Mar Hicks, Alice Clifton-Morekis, Londa Schiebinger, Karin Zachmann) and the Swedish historiography of national gender equality politics. It presents Swedish historiography on the gendered culture in engineering and national gender equality policy to an international audience.

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