University of Hertfordshire

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Masculinity and Non-Traditional Occupations: Men’s Talk in Women’s Work

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-291
JournalGender, Work and Organization
Early online date19 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2015


Occupation segregation is a persistent aspect of the labour market, and scholars have often researched what happens when women and men enter into what are seen to be ‘non-traditional’ work roles for their sex. Research on men within women's roles has concentrated mainly on the challenges to a masculine identity, while research on workplace language has focused on women's linguistic behaviour in masculine occupations. To date, there has been relatively little research into the linguistic behaviour of men working in occupations seen as women's work (e.g., nursing, primary school teaching). To address this gap, this article focuses on men's discursive behaviour and identity construction within the feminized occupation of nursing. Empirical data collected by three male nurses in a hospital in Northern Ireland is explored using discourse analysis and the Community of Practice paradigm. This paper discusses how the participants linguistically present themselves as nurses by performing relational work and creating an in-group with their nurse colleagues by actively using an inherently ‘feminine’ discourse style


This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Joanne McDowell, ‘Masculinity and Non-Traditional Occupations: Men’s Talk in Women’s Work’, Gender, Work & Organization, Vol. 22 (3): 273-291, first published online 19 March 2015, which has been published in final form at doi: 10.1111/gwao.12078. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.


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