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“Who is this little girl they hired to work here?”: Women’s experiences of marginalizing communication in male-dominated workplaces

Pages 484-505
Received 23 Jul 2019
Accepted 07 Apr 2020
Published online: 13 May 2020


Drawing from research on workplace incivility, marginalization, and socialization, this study explored the experiences of 41 women who self-identified as being in the early stages of careers in male-dominated workplaces. Analysis of interviews suggested a model that explicates the process of marginalization including (a) marginalizing communication (six categories that range from micro to macro-aggressions), (b) interpretation, (c) response, and (d) outcomes. Based on participants’ descriptions, the model explains how societal and job contexts and personal factors (constraints, previous experience, social networks) shape the process of workplace marginalization. This study offers an integrated approach to conceptualizing marginalization as a process-based and communicative phenomenon.

Disclosure statement

No potential conflict of interest was reported by the author(s).

Notes on contributors

Elizabeth Dorrance Hall is an Assistant Professor of Communication at Michigan State University and a Director of the Family Communication and Relationships Lab. Her research focuses on difficult conversations and how close relationships evolve over time.

Patricia E. Gettings is an Assistant Professor of Communication at the University at Albany, State University of New York. Her research explores how individuals' personal relationships and organizational lives influence one another, and how individuals communicatively negotiate these overlapping spaces.

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