Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Adult, Career and Higher Education

Major Professor

Waynne B. James, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Victor Hernandez-Gantes, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jennifer Wolgemuth, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Rosemary Closson, Ph.D.


Feminist standpoint, apprenticeship, mentors, self-directedness, adult learners, gender stereotypes, workforce training


The purpose of this study was to understand the reasons the four female participants decided to pursue electrician technician training, their perspectives of the apprenticeship program, their perceptions of successful employment in a male-dominated occupation, and differences in treatment based on their gender. The exploratory questions that guided the study were: what led the females to make the decision for applying to the electrician technician apprenticeship; what was the nature of the education and training experiences of the participants in the electrician technician apprenticeship program, what were the participants’ perceptions of being successful in advancement within the workforce as a female electrician technician; and what gender differences did the participants experience as female electrician technicians? The theoretical framework for this study is based on feminist standpoint theory (Harding, 1991, 1993, 1987; Hartsock, 1997, 1998a 1998b; Smith 1987, 1997).

Data collection methods consisted of a demographics questionnaire, semi-structured interviews, participant journals, researcher’s reflexive journal notes, and electrician apprenticeship program data. The cross-case analysis generated five major themes: family support, independence, mentors, self-directedness, and gender stereotypes. These five themes included discussions of the micro, meso, and macro levels in a male-dominated occupation. Implications for practitioners and policy makers are described. This study contributes empirical research on feminist standpoint theory and females in male-dominated occupations. It also adds to the body of literature on female electrician technicians’ decision processes, which are rarely studied, and success in a male-dominated occupation.