Academic Apparel: Examining Gender Inequality and Dress at a Large Canadian University

Title: Academic Apparel: Examining Gender Inequality and Dress at a Large Canadian University
Authors: Annett, Clare
Date: 2016
Abstract: Women working in the current Canadian academic system face challenges which their male colleagues do not; one such challenge lies in dressing for work in the university setting. This paper examines the role dress plays in the workplace experiences of female professors at a large Canadian academic research institution. Through on-line and face-to-face focus groups as well as one-on-one interviews with 16 female professors, this study examines how these women decide what to wear to work. Using Goffman’s (1959) symbolic interactionist approach to self-presentation, in combination with Simmel (1957) and Blumer’s (1969) work on fashion, the various meanings attributed to women’s dress are explored. Women’s self-presentation in professional settings is significant, as theorized by Ridgeway’s (1991; 1993; 2011) theories of gender inequality in the workplace. Finally Scott’s (1990) theories of everyday resistance explore the potential for female professors to resist the dominant power structure through their choice of dress and self-presentation at work. The preliminary findings indicate that for those individuals for whom power and authority are not as accessible, dress and self-presentation can be avenues through which these individuals can access this authority and at times some may push back against the unequal power structures which exist in the current Canadian academic system.
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -