‘Now, We Have the Same Rights as Men to Keep Our Jobs’: Gendered Perceptions of Opportunity and Obstacles in a Mexican Workplace

Citation:

Brumley, Krista M. 2014. “‘Now, We Have the Same Rights as Men to Keep Our Jobs’: Gendered Perceptions of Opportunity and Obstacles in a Mexican Workplace.” Gender, Work & Organization 21 (3): 217–30.

Author: Krista M. Brumley

Abstract:

Drawing on extensive qualitative data at a Mexican-owned multinational corporation, this case study investigates professional employees' perceptions of changes to a prohibitive work policy requiring women to quit working upon marriage and having children. Employees believed the policy change meant working women were valued employees, but how this translated into opportunity highlighted distinct views of the types of positions professional women could occupy at the company, reinforcing sex-segregated job allocation. Whereas women's narratives pointed to cultural resistance, men's narratives attributed the dearth of women in higher level positions to their lack of professionalism and commitment to work. The work policy change only guaranteed the right for women to work as the company modernized to fit the neoliberal demands of the global marketplace. Now women faced the challenge of turning that right into career advancement in a traditionally masculine-defined company. I argue that even with the policy change, gendered discourses on women in professional occupations constructed and maintained gender inequities in the workplace. This study contributes to the scholarly discussion on gendered discourses within the context of global restructuring by showing how mechanisms at work maintain gender inequity in the workplace.

Keywords: gendered organizations, women in management, organizational culture, mexico, work-family

Topics: Economies, Gender, Gendered Discourses, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Gender Equity, Globalization, Multi-national Corporations Regions: Americas, North America Countries: Mexico

Year: 2014

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