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Explaining men's entry into female-concentrated occupations: issues of masculinity and social class

Lupton, Benjamin (2006) Explaining men's entry into female-concentrated occupations: issues of masculinity and social class. Gender work and organization, 13 (2). pp. 103-128. ISSN 1468-0432

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Abstract

This article seeks to add to an understanding of why some men enter female-concentrated occupations (and why the majority do not). Drawing on the results of in-depth interviews with 27 men in a range of occupations, I illustrate and interpret the complex and often contradictory ways in which men approach the notion of working in female-concentrated occupations and examine the impact that this has on their occupational outcomes. The data suggest that different attitudes to female-concentrated work cannot in themselves explain men's presence there. Consequently I explore, with particular reference to social class, the context in which attitudes around gender, work and occupational destinations, are framed. I conclude that men's entry to female-concentrated occupations may best be approached, not as an issue of ‘masculinity’ but as one of social mobility operating within a gendered labour market.

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