The impact of gender perceptions and professional values on women’s careers in nursing



McIntosh B, McQuaid R & Munro A (2015) The impact of gender perceptions and professional values on women’s careers in nursing. Gender in Management: An International Journal, 30 (1), pp. 26-43.

Within nursing, there appears to be two enduring sets of assumptions: firstly, that woman with children should prioritise the care of children; and secondly, that nursing standards require nurses to put their profession above other priorities. Commitment is linked to full-time working which contrasts sharply with the reality for many women with children who need to work part-time and are not able to change or extend working hours.This qualitative research involved the use of 32 in-depth interviews with thirty-two female registered nurses with children and without children. In a female dominated profession, we find the profession resisting attempts to make the profession more accessible to women with young children. The career progression of women with children is inhibited and this is driven in part by a determination to maintain ‘traditional’ employment practices.It develops Heilman's argument that gender perceptions, by both males and females can be biased against women and these produce gender inequalities in employment. These findings are relevant across many areas of employment and they are significant in relation to broadening the debate around equal opportunities for women.

Attitudes; barriers, careers; children; flexibility; gender stereotypes; nursing; professional values; working

Gender in Management: An International Journal: Volume 30, Issue 1

Publication date31/03/2015
Publication date online01/2015
Date accepted by journal10/06/2014

People (1)


Professor Ronald McQuaid
Professor Ronald McQuaid

Professor of Work and Employment, Management, Work and Organisation