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What women want from work

Gender and occupational choice in the 21st Century

Ruth Woodfield

Palgrave 2007, 272 s. ISBN 9780230549227

Despite improvements in opportunities, women remain concentrated in particular occupational sectors and roles. What underlies this situation? Do women simply prefer distinct types of work? Or are current patterns more a function of external limitations on initial ambitions? Although there is a wealth of literature relating to gendered occupational segregation, there is comparatively little seeking to account for how work choices are made from the individual's perspective. Ruth Woodfield offers a detailed, qualitative exploration of over one hundred and eighty girls and women's accounts of their journeys towards work choices. She examines narratives of work decisions and experiences through the lens of commentary on two neglected case study occupations - fire fighting and teaching - and explores the impact of the media, parents, teachers, as well as discourses of masculinity and femininity, individualism and collectivism, free will and constraint, on the development of these individual perspectives.
Contents
Introduction
Gender and Occupational Segregation - Setting the Scene
Accounting for Occupational Segregation - The Perspective of Girls and Women
Women and Non-Traditional Work: A Case Study of Fire Fighting
Women and 'Traditional' Work: A Case Study of Teaching
Women and Career Progression: Ambition, Success and Choice
Gender as Vocation: A Sociology of Choice
Conclusion
Index
Author Biographies
RUTH WOODFIELD is Reader in Sociology at the University of Sussex, UK. She is the author of Women, Work and Computing.