Re-thinking gender inequality in the workplace – a framework from the male perspective
Gender inequality is one of the most extensively investigated subjects across different disciplines and plays an important role in public and government policy debates. Because, historically, women have been fighting for their rights in society, gender inequality issues have been studied predominately from their point of view. There are a few studies that investigate gender inequality from the male perspective, but little empirical research has examined the male issues in the professional world. Furthermore, the literature on male difficulties is dispersed and lacks an integrative conceptual framework as it has been studied in different fields such as sociology, psychology and management studies. In this article, we propose an additional and complementary perspective, which observes the difficulties that the male working population can experience in the workplace. Based on a literature review, we present a first-level typology of male struggles in the professional world. We use it for the analysis of 33 semi-structured interviews conducted with male subjects who were perceiving or experiencing gender-related difficulties in the workplace. Finally, as a result of our empirical data, we revisit the typology and propose a final framework of existing male difficulties as well as new ones that are based on two dimensions: the nature of the occupation (traditionally female, male and gender-neutral) and the potential sources of difficulties (social circles, colleagues, superiors, clients). This study advocates for more awareness of existing gender inequality to help fight occupational segregation and promote flexible working arrangements for all genders.
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