Gender and Organisations
Edited by Alexander-Stamatios Antoniou, Cary Cooper and Caroline Gatrell
Chapter 15: Experiencing a secret career in healthcare science
This chapter explores why women working in healthcare science keep quiet about their career aspirations both at work and at home contributing to fewer women reaching top positions. Drawing on texts from women and men healthcare scientists and a long career in healthcare science, the author shows how men succeed in keeping women in their subordinate “place” and why women find it difficult to escape from this place. Men exclude and downplay the contributions of women in healthcare science by a variety of subtle masculinist behaviors, sapping women’s confidence: women being candid about ambitions can be counterproductive and it is less problematic to keep quiet about their career aspirations. Subtle masculinist behaviors are also exhibited by some husbands (all women in this research living with heterosexual partners were married) so that women find it less confrontational to downplay their career aspirations at home to the point of having secret careers.
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