The historical process of defining a group by their agreed practice and by their tools is a powerful one. It not only reinforces geographic or ethnic distributions, it also affects the gendering of work. When certain technologies and tools are predominantly used by men, then maleness becomes part of the definition of those technologies. It is for these deep-rooted reasons that it is so very difficult for women to enter what are now called “non-traditional” jobs. If engineers are male and maleness is part of engineering, the it’s tough for men to accept women into the profession. The apparent ease with which women acquire the knowledge necessary to practise only seems to increase the perceived threat to the male practitioners. And so year after year, engineering faculties go through initiation procedures that are crude, sexist, and obscene in order to establish that the profession is male, even if some of the practitioners are not.

Ursula Franklin, The Real World of Technology. (ISBN: 9780887846366) p.7–8