Both P.W.E and O.W.E women adapt to their working environment despite that it is a male dominated organisation. Both admitted that their work assignments were very gender based where women were assigned more office work and men were assigned more site visits.
In terms of discrimination among the P.W.E,
‘Male workers are mostly requested to stay on site after working hours, for e.g. during concreting processes; my overtime are mostly in the office’. [Alia]
‘I work in a good environment where my female colleagues are a minority’. [Gita]
Besides, out of the five P.W.E, four (Katherine, Alia, Dina, Rita) stated to be the only women working in the workplace and that the rest is dominated by the presence male staff including men engineers, thus showing a heavily male-dominated organization.
As for the O.W.E, they stated that they know many women engineers who left their job because of their inadaptability to work in a male dominated environment and also unwilling to put extra working hours.
However, even though both O.W.E and P.W.E worked in a male dominated environment, P.W.E were seen to be more reactive to these discriminatory practices. They never give up, dedicating more determination and initiative and even convincing the boss to give them more site work. They even work as a team to solve their problems. They did not suffer any kind of discrimination in terms of salary, training or promotion and stated that having control on the workers in a project. Moreover, P.W.E In addition, in the case of Katherine involving a sexual harassment where the male colleague pursued her to go on a date with him or flirting with her openly in the office or making unpleasant remarks on herself and her clothes, the woman dealt with them in a tactful manner by letting ‘them talk within some limits, or either turning it into a joke, or reprimanding them. As a last resort, she may report it to her boss. Another case is of Alia who already had herself prepared in such type of problem.
They even have solutions to the problems that were prevalent in this sector, for example how two P.W.E dealt with sexual harassment.
‘Three men in my job were giving me sexual remarks about my clothes, harassing me to be on date’.flirting openly with me’.I’ll just let them talk within some limit before I turn it either to a joke or I reprimand them. Only in serious cases, problem that I’ll report it to the boss’.[Katherine]
‘Sexual harassment is serious but my seniors have always been supportive in enforcing the rules and regulations to protect women’s rights and that the way to deal with it is by controlling those working under me … to respect me and other women’ [Alia]
‘More overtime work given in office rather than site work ‘ but I never give up, reported it to my boss if I’m given too much office work or not given enough site work’. [Dina]
‘Usually we work as a team to sort out problems together and that especially on site, I can manage all responsibilities handed over to me as equally as men’ .[Rita]
‘I show the same determination as men in the work; I am able to convince my boss to get me the same amount of work as male colleagues’. [Gita]
However, O.W.E tend to be ignored by their seniors and stated that the hostile and heavily male-dominated culture to be the main reason of their frustrations. In addition, as compared to men, they suffered from discrimination in terms of salary, training and promotion but was not victim to any kind of sexual harassment. Equal opportunities was not implemented as they added that site jobs are not distributed equally and married women were perceived to be unproductive as they are not willing to do overtime work (site work). They blamed the organizational culture for not perceiving them as capable engineers unlike men. They also do not have flexible working hours, not feel respected, and no moral support and describing themselves as invisible and unheard. They found much difficulty in integrating and adapting to the culture of the male dominated organisation.
‘I do not get the opportunity to voice out my ideas and feel helpless in such times’.being a married woman, I prefer not to work overtime’.however I try my best to complete most of the work within office hours while the male colleagues do more overtime even’., my seniors usually tend to think that people who do overtime work more and much harder’. [Angel]
‘Not feel comfortable when working around my male colleagues” at times I not feel respected by male workers mainly on site as they don’t like to be supervised by a lady’.underestimating my capacity based on gender’. [Alexi]
‘The male workers have less respect for female engineers…and even after working for six years in this field, I have to work harder even to feel appreciated as compared to the male colleagues’.. my boss did not support in challenging situations”’.my male colleagues are not very cooperative, underestimated my skills which resulted in low self-confidence’..my seniors assign more site jobs to men engineers unlike female engineer’.thus showing more favoritism towards men’. [Ashlee]
On the of that, among the O.W.E, two other women had the intention to leave because of the stress, heavily male dominated organisation, and the odd working hours. They highlighted the reason of their departure;
” odd working hours, difficult tasks and a hostile workplace”.had surgical operation and preferred to leave the engineering sector’..as my job was too demanding and tiring an impact on the salary, and promotion prospects’ [Alexi]
”’as an engineer, I had no social life and brought home office work daily which was tiring too demanding”.only after changing my work as an accountant that I got married’.top management had a bad perception on me’..the vulgar language used on site work’..left engineering'[Hailey]
Thus, P.W.E are seen to adapt with more ease to the discriminatory situations in their workplace than the O.W.E. This is elaborated by Buse et al (2013), Fouad et al (2012) and Hewlett et al.’s (2008), who cited adaptability, psychological factors, the organizational atmosphere, perception of workplace and a ‘chilly climate’ respectively that influenced women to adapt to the engineering field. Thus P.W.E and O.W.E dealt differently to the way they experienced and adapted to this discriminatory engineering culture.