Policy and the pregnant body at work: strategies of secrecy, silence and supra-performance

Gatrell, C J (2011) Policy and the pregnant body at work: strategies of secrecy, silence and supra-performance. Gender, Work and Organisation, 18 (2). pp. 158-181. ISSN 0968-6673

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This article considers how women manage their pregnant bodies at work. Through netnographic research and drawing upon feminist discussions of the leaky pregnant body, I examine the experiences of US and UK women who correspond on interactive websites or chat rooms. Drawing upon ‘expert advice’ and the experiences of employed pregnant women in this study, I suggest that the bodily manifestations of pregnancy are taboo in some workplaces. I note how these women did not appear to draw upon policy as a resource for dealing with negative reactions to pregnancy from colleagues and employers. Instead, they tended to adopt strategies of secrecy, silence and supra-performance in order to try and blend in. In the context of these strategies, I demonstrate how women’s attempts to manage and control their bodies are severely compromised during pregnancy, when the body may be leaky and unpredictable

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Gender, Work and Organisation
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? bodypregnancysecrecy silence supra-performanceworkplacesmanagement learningorganizational behavior and human resource managementgender studieshb economic theorydiscipline-based research ??
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Deposited On:
11 Jul 2011 18:27
Last Modified:
12 Jun 2024 00:03