PG Blog: Rose Leek #7 Gender and Career

This week it is International Women’s Day, Mother’s Day, and my amazing mum’s birthday. I thought it would be relevant to reflect on some of the gender related content we have looked at in the first CEIGHE module, especially considering the many public discussions taking place on gender. Even if you pay little attention to the news, you would be hard pushed to have missed discussions on the #MeToo and #Time’s Up movements, the Hollywood scandals, or the gender pay gap criticisms of large organisations such as the BBC.

On the module we have looked at a range of theories on career choice and development. Across these some made the impact of gender, along with other aspects such as disability, race and socio-economic differences, a prominent feature, whilst others can be critiqued for undermining the significance of these factors. When particularly thinking about gender two different ideas stood out for me.

The first was Gottfredson’s theory of circumscription and compromise. This considers the impact of occupational stereotypes on children, and suggests that they rule out occupations as inappropriate based on societal influences. One of the factors is gender, arguing that an individual may compromise on their occupational choice if a role seems unsuited to the expectations of their gender. For example, men were not traditionally in the role of a primary teacher, and women were not traditionally in engineering professions. I found it interesting to consider this influence from such an early age.

The second idea was within Inkson’s use of career as metaphor. Inkson gives a range of metaphors which help individuals to understand their experiences and ways of thinking. One metaphor is career as narrative, which is linked to the wider ideas within narrative career counselling. Inkson discusses story as a way of making sense of patterns in our past experiences. In relation to gender, I found it interesting when Inkson noted that storytelling could provide wider social learning about career, as it may encourage discussions within a community on differing experiences. The example was given of female students being shocked, and enlightened, through hearing the gender discrimination their mothers experienced when trying to pursue the early stages of a career.

When I began the theories module, I just considered career. I didn’t realise the wider considerations some theories would give to the role society plays in choice that we all make. I have really enjoyed reading the different perspectives on how and why individuals end up (or don’t end up) in particular occupations, and found it an interesting aspect when piecing together the assignment.

I will be starting to move into the second module shortly, on Work Experience in Higher Education, and look forward to seeing what connections there may be to the theory reading. In the meantime though, happy birthday mum!

About the author

Rose LeekRose Leek is a paid blogger for CLL.

I relocated back near my hometown last year in Surrey, after a decade living near the sea in East Kent. I work in a University Employability & Careers Centre, assisting engineering and science students onto a placement year as part of their degree, and providing administrative support to their academic tutors.

I started the Postgraduate Diploma in Careers Education, Information and Guidance in Higher Education (CEIGHE) in October 2017 and am looking forward to developing a wider awareness of the service I work within, and increasing my confidence and understanding.

I have experienced a year with lots of change, and it is both exciting and daunting to be adding studying back into my life. I have never written a blog and my reasoning for doing so is the hope that it will help me to better reflect on, and share, my experience as a CEIGHE student. My course is mainly distance taught, with a few residential workshops per year. I wanted to also try to share the perspective of being a distance student, and how I will (hopefully!) learn to juggle the balance of study, work and home.

I look forward to the journey ahead!

And if all else fails, maybe the cat can do some of my studying for me?

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