Graduates 'Doing Gender' as early Career Professionals
(English)Manuscript (Other academic)
Purpose: This qualitative study focuses on how early career professionals ‘do gender’ in their new professional context. The article explores how two different groups of graduates, psychologists and political scientists, ‘do gender’ as early career professionals with particular emphasis on how graduates acquire legitimacy in relation to their colleagues and clients.
Design/methodology/approach: Graduates from two different Master’s programmes in Sweden, Political Science and Psychology, were interviewed after 30-34 months of professional work. The theoretical approach is based on a ‘doing gender’ perspective with special reference to Acker’s theoretical framework viewing employment and organizations as gendered processes influencing both individuals’ actions and activities.
Findings: The analysis identified two different ways the early career professionals ‘do gender’ in their professional practice in order to acquire legitimacy, one of a kind or the same as others and construction or selfpossession. The results indicate that female and male early career professionals acquire different kinds of legitimacy, which could be derived from the gendered processes in the organization where behaviour and interaction play a decisive role. When they ‘do gender’ they also produce and reproduce a gendered notion of a professional project that influences their professional practice as well as how they position themselves as a professional person with knowledge and competence.
Originality/value: The perspective of ‘doing gender’ opens up an interesting approach in exploring graduate employment and the encounter with working life. The perspective makes it possible to capture gender as everyday activities of people in organizations; an approach that has been largely ignored.
Graduate Employment, Doing Gender, Professionalism, Legitimacy, Qualitative analysis
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-16935OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-16935DiVA: diva2:174841