Gender Identity and Self-Positioning
Earlier studies of women and work roles document that women's priorities in self identification according to gender norms vary (Deaux, 1992). Gender, the social definition of differences between males and females, is reflexively maintained through interaction among individuals exercising some choice in their self-interpretations (Deaux, 1987; Epstein, 1992; Goffman, 1959, 1967; Stets and Burke, 1996; West and Zimmerman, 1987).' Other referents for personal identity such as class, age or generation also may take precedence in the individual's assessment of social position and personal identity when interacting in business settings. The structure of business and society make gender a basis of social organization. Thus women must negotiate both personal interpretation and social boundaries that guide interaction and the meaning of female gender in our culture.