MyManagement: Women managers in gendered and sexualised workplaces

Linda McKie, Marjut Jyrkinen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: We report on research with women managers’ in which we document their strategies in response to gendered and sexualised working life. Our analysis offers a conceptual framework as well as suggesting ways in which employing organisations and workers might recognise and address the myriad forms of discrimination.

Design/methodology/approach: A qualitative design was pursued with 15 one-to-one interviews and two focus groups involving 12 women managers aged from their 30s to 60s. Data were collected in Finland. Women were recruited through business networks. Participants worked in a range of private sector and voluntary sector organisations.

Findings: Finland is a country which enjoys an international reputation for gender equality, but across our data women recounted numerous examples of how they navigate working life to manage sexualised and discriminatory encounters and comments. Women reported feeling under constant surveillance for their looks, dress, and behaviours in and outside the workplace. Further, ageing brought with it challenges to remain energetic and youthful and enhance the image of the organisation.

Originality/value: Although a considerable body of research exists on (gendered) aesthetic labor at work in service and hospitality work, there is a limited data on this in business and middle management. With an ageing workforce, and women continuing to encounter pressures with their physical appearance, behaviors and dress, they continually develop ways to negotiate their careers. We propose the concept of ‘MyManagement’ as a self-technology to denote the ways how women manage workplace relationships, working life, and career development as organisational practices remain gendered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-110
Number of pages13
JournalGender in Management: An International Journal
Volume32
Issue number2
Early online date13 Mar 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2017

Keywords

  • gendered practices
  • women managers
  • resistance
  • compliance
  • aesthetic labour
  • age and ageism

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