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

Brewis, Deborah Natasha (2011). Performing professional: University student perceptions of gender discrimination in their future careers. University of Birmingham. M.Phil.


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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: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Phil.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Phil.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare


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