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Performing professional: University student perceptions of gender discrimination in their future careers

Brewis, Deborah Natasha (2011)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

This thesis argues that female finalists in higher education are already aware of the potential impact that their gender might have on their future careers and in light of this have begun to plan how to cope with them. Students’ concerns lie in two main areas: a) family responsibilities interrupting a linear career and b) that their existence as culturally situated ‘women’ in the workplace may influence how they are regarded as ‘professionals’. These concerns exist despite the discourse of equal opportunities that higher education promotes and the perceived equality of opportunity and outcome in higher education. Extrapolating from the detailed analysis of data collected from students, and combining this with an analysis of the literature, I suggest that the seeming failure of equal opportunity policy in employment may in part reflect a genuine failure, and that this failure may be due to a lack of clarity inherent in equality policies and of coherence in the range of theories that inform them. Although the study is limited in the extent to which student attitudes expressed in it can be considered representative, it nevertheless helps us to explore the implications of differing conceptualisations of ‘gender’ on gender equality policies and informs the direction of what further research is needed in the area of gender in employment studies.

Type of Work:M.Phil. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Ross, Charlotte
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:School of Language and Cultures
Subjects:HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:3044
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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