Gender in Organizations
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Gender in Organizations

Are Men Allies or Adversaries to Women’s Career Advancement?

Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Debra A. Major

Diversifying the workforce is becoming increasingly important, with gender equality being a central feature of overall equality. Men seem to be part of the problem and a necessary part of the solution. This collection ties these themes together in the context of talent management and organizational effectiveness.
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Chapter 10: Unspeakable masculinities in business schools

Elisabeth Kelan


The under-representation of women in business schools is widely acknowledged. The top ten schools of the Financial Times (FT) MBA ranking 2013 have on average 34 per cent women in their MBA classes (Financial Times, 2013). Business schools are in consequence an ideal place to change the male domination of business. However, rather than challenging the male dominance of business, business schools seem to be a reflection of current business. For change to happen in business schools it is important to look beyond the confines of numerical representation of women in business schools and instead focus on practices that maintain gender inequalities in business schools and those that can potentially destabilize it. Research on the changing nature of gender inequality has indicated that gender is increasingly becoming unspeakable (Gill, 2013). The unspeakability of gender inequality means that gender is often acknowledged but not seen as important any more. This poses the challenge to researchers to find new ways to render gender speakable. In a business school context it is certain practices of masculinity that permeate business schools. The aim of this chapter is to explore how masculine practices could be rendered speakable in business schools. First, a brief review of the literature on women and gender in business school is offered. Second, the silencing of gender in business school is discussed based on specific research and linked to the notion of the unspeakability of gender.

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