This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

The Face Value of Femininity- An Assessment of the Perceptions of Femininity in the Workplace




Ballouk, Amanda

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology


The perception of femininity in the workplace has traditionally been viewed negatively by the general public. While many perceive femininity in the workplace as being unprofessional, changing generational values suggest a dramatic shift in this perception. Conflicting research on the perception of femininity calls for a re-evaluation of the current definition of femininity and of the public’s perception of femininity in the workplace in relation to professionalism. A survey of 310 college students at a southeastern university were asked about their perceptions of femininity demonstrated in the workplace in order to understand and predict new trends in generational workplace values. This study investigated the current perceptions of femininity in the workplace in hopes that both workforce educators and business personnel can predict future changes in workplace culture and use this information to create a more inclusive workplace environment. The findings of this study indicated that an individual’s gender had an impact on if an individual saw femininity in the workplace, that older individuals were less likely to associate femininity with professionalism, that Seniors in college were less likely to assert that males displayed femininity less than females, that being independent and having leadership ability are two of the most important professional traits to individuals, that individuals who did not wish to disclose their gender valued work or family, and that in general college students viewed femininity in the workplace positively.