Mansplaining Still the Norm: Gender Dynamics in Planning Workplaces

Authors: Marisa Turesky*, University of Southern California, Mildred Warner, Cornell University
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning, Women, Careers and professional development
Keywords: Social Justice & Equity, Planning Careers, Gender Planning, Career Development
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Maryland B, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Planners’ workplaces are diversifying with respect to gender, but office culture and policies do not always reflect such change. Using theories of organizational behavior, such as Role Congruity Theory and Expectations States Theory, we seek to explain women’s barriers to workplace engagement (Bosak, Sczesny & Eagly, 2012; Ridgeway & Lovin 1999). Results from a 2015 national survey, conducted with the American Planning Association’s Women and Planning Division, show the effects of workplace policies and associated management and employee behaviors on female planners’ careers. The 327 respondents—mostly female—perceived equal opportunities for advancement and pay, but few felt equally heard and evaluated. Results from a logistic regression model indicate that the respondent’s gender and the gender of management are statistically significant predictors of whether the respondent will experience that men are heard more than women. We analyzed and interpreted the qualitative responses for emergent themes to understand how assumptions about women influence the female planner in her workplace. The data were categorized into a framework that explores gender bias, work-life balance, work-life policies, and equal opportunities for advancement and pay, and transformational styles of leadership. Despite the prevalence of flexible work options, respondents faced stigma when using such policies for work-life balance. Advancing workplace dynamics and policies is a challenge that planners must address to foster gender equity.

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