Being female doing gender. Narratives of women in education management

Priola, Vincenza (2007). Being female doing gender. Narratives of women in education management. Gender and Education, 19(1) pp. 21–40.



The paper explores gender relations in academia and discusses how gender is constructed within academic institutions. It is based upon the study of a business school, part of a British university. The construction of gender relations within this institution was of special interest because the majority of managerial roles were occupied by women. All female academic managers (dean, associate deans and heads of department) and a random selection of female and male academics were interviewed. The process of construction of gender relations is investigated through the analysis of the discrepancy between the ‘masculine culture’ of high education institutions and the dominance of women managers within this organization. It is suggested that the numerical dominance of women managers may create tensions between their individual identities as women and their managerial identities, due to the predominance of masculine practices and values within the organization. Additionally, it emerged that the maintenance of masculine ideals and practices is also associated with downplaying women’s achievements.

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