Gender and feminine identities – women as managers in a UK academic institution

Priola, Vincenza (2004). Gender and feminine identities – women as managers in a UK academic institution. Women in Management Review, 19(8) pp. 421–430.



The paper considers gender identities in higher education. It examines how people involved in university life engage in (re)creating gender identities and in (re)producing gender-related expectations (and stereotypes) of managerial behaviour. The process of construction of feminine identities is explored through the discourses of academics from a UK university (mainly women who hold managerial positions). The paper reports findings from a series of in-depth interviews with women managers (dean, associate deans and heads of departments) and with university academics (men and women) from a Business School, part of a large British new university. The school was of special interest because women held the majority of senior managerial posts. It appears that the process of construction of femininities is mainly developed around four (stereo-)typical aspects generally associated with feminine management practices (multi-tasking, supporting and nurturing, people and communication skills, and team-work).

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