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MyManagement: women managers in gendered and sexualised workplaces

Linda McKie (School of Applied Social Sciences, Durham University, Durham, UK)
Marjut Jyrkinen (Gender Studies, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland)

Gender in Management

ISSN: 1754-2413

Article publication date: 10 April 2017

1944

Abstract

Purpose

The authors report on research with women managers, documenting their strategies in response to gendered and sexualised working life. The paper aims to offer a conceptual framework and suggest 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 the 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 labour at work in service and hospitality work, there are limited data on this in business and middle management. With an ageing workforce, and women continuing to encounter pressures with their physical appearance, behaviours and dress, they continually develop ways to negotiate their careers. The authors 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.

Keywords

Citation

McKie, L. and Jyrkinen, M. (2017), "MyManagement: women managers in gendered and sexualised workplaces", Gender in Management, Vol. 32 No. 2, pp. 98-110. https://doi.org/10.1108/GM-04-2016-0091

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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