Gender representations are considered to be extremely important as they help shape/re-shape reality. Would the representation in the photograph still something that resonates with what the industrial landscape looks like today?

14. Workers, Frigido factory. 1947-1997. Teófilo Rego Archive, Casa da Imagem – Manuel Leão Foundation, Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal.

The notion of gender can historically be seen as a stamp on what a woman and man shall do socially, personally and professionally. Can this be one of the reasons why women still are underrepresented in many industrial sectors?

15. Showing work clothes, ca. 1980. Interactive Museum of Industry, Gabrovo, Bulgaria.

Gender relates to the learned perceptions of social differences and relations between women and men, and other gender identities and expressions, changeable over time, varying considerably from society to society and from culture to culture.

The way these differences and relations are understood is deeply rooted in the socialisation process, therefore, they are socially constructed and bound. The way in which they are translated is through a core set of rules that guide what is appropriate and acceptable for women and men. Although they are context-specific and can be modified, the process of change is usually slow.

Gender is diverse from sex since it does not only consider the different physical features and characteristics of women and men, but also their socially constructed roles, and their relations. It furthermore includes the mutable sets of behaviours, practices and perceptions about what is to be a woman or a man, as well as those regarding other genders, that nurture self-identity. These are also of vital importance in terms of systems, frameworks, and social institutions.

The way in which gender perceptions, dynamics, and relations work explains how it is very difficult for women to be included in traditionally male dominated sectors, including some industry sectors.

As mentioned, the understanding of gender is contextually bound and the way it has been understood and lived differs considering specific historical times, but, even within those, it is also affected by specific social-political realities (e.g, southern European countries versus USSR in the 1950s).

Additionally, gender perceptions might alter and change sharply for a specific – relatively short period of time – as per disruptive or catalyst events.

During World War II, for example, women were called to perform male-oriented tasks, namely in some of the industry sectors. This was a temporary shift to be resumed when the war ended, with the replacement of the status quo and the traditional understanding of the division of labour, in which men should re-occupy the role of key breadwinner