'You just had to get on with it’ : Exploring the persistence of gender inequality through women’s career histories

Ford, Jackie and Harding, Nancy and Atkinson, Carol and Collinson, David (2021) 'You just had to get on with it’ : Exploring the persistence of gender inequality through women’s career histories. Work, Employment and Society, 35 (1). pp. 78-96. ISSN 0950-0170

[thumbnail of Careers paper Accepted version 10 02 20 pdf]
Text (Careers paper Accepted version 10 02 20 pdf)
Careers_paper_Accepted_version_10_02_20_pdf.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial.

Download (435kB)


This article examines the career histories of the first generation of UK women to enter professional employment in the 1970s and 1980s in comparatively large numbers. In so doing it contributes to the sparse literature on older women’s working life histories. Presenting empirical research on women’s experiences in the legal and HR sectors, it reveals how women pioneers were often silenced by requirements to conform with male-dominated norms, values and practices governing masculine career pathways. They learned to speak a predominantly masculine language that in turn constituted a significant barrier to effective resistance and disallowed new ways of speaking about careers. The article argues that these earlier conditions of entry into careers continue to influence the barriers women face at work today. Through this analysis of older women’s working lives, the article also contributes to contemporary debates about intersectionality by illustrating how gender and age interact in ways that reinforce earlier patterns of career disadvantage.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Work, Employment and Society
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? agecareersfeminismgenderintersectionalitylanguagevoiceorganizational behavior and human resource managementeconomics and econometricsaccountingsociology and political science ??
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
09 Mar 2020 09:55
Last Modified:
19 Feb 2024 00:43