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Mr. Li Xiaotian publishes article on gender gap in software engineering in Journal of Gender Studies

2 December 2021

Congratulations to Mr. Li Xiaotian for the recent publication of his article “Strategic flexibility in a male-dominated occupation: women software engineers in China” in the internationally renowned Journal of Gender Studies.

This article builds on a rich literature on the gender gap in software engineering. It further contextualizes the gendering of development work in the Chinese high-tech industry, especially the prevalent overwork norm. The perpetuation of male ascendency is achieved through the gendered hierarchization of subspecialties in software engineering and the embodiment of the geek culture. Nevertheless, women show their resilience and strength in navigating their careers in this male-dominated occupation. This article reveals female programmers’ strategies: flexible assimilation, flexible embodiment, and flexible career development. By this strategic flexibility, the article highlights women’s agency in tactically negotiating gender rules and transgressing gender boundaries in a male-dominated occupation.

Li Xiaotian is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at The University of Hong Kong. His research interests include gender and sexuality, labour and migration in China, and how technology changes work and everyday life. His PhD project investigates the Internet economy in China and examines the working experiences of workers in new job positions.

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