Research Output

Belonging and otherness: sex equality in banking in Turkey and Britain.

  The struggle for sex equality at work has largely been achieved in the developed world, it is claimed. The number of well-qualified young women entering white-collar employment and achieving promotion to first-line and middle management positions now matches or exceeds their male peers. Many young women have high career aspirations and argue that sex discrimination no longer exists. However, this perception is over-optimistic. Major sex inequalities persist at senior management level in the salaries and benefits offered to female and male staff and in access to certain favoured occupations and sectors of employment. Questionnaires, interviews and documentary evidence from three Turkish and six British banks and high street financial organizations showed that their claimed commitment to equal opportunities by sex was not matched by their practices. Members of managerial elites (who were almost exclusively male) held firm views about the characteristics of ‘the ideal worker’, which informed organizational ideologies, including human resource policies and practices concerning recruitment and promotion. They also permeated organizational cultures, which affected employees’ working practices and experiences. The outcome of these internal negotiation processes was to differentiate between a favoured group of staff seen as fully committed to the companies’ values, who were promoted and rewarded, and an ‘out’ group, whose members were denied these privileges. This distinction between ‘belonging’ and ‘otherness’ is gendered not only along the traditional lines of class, age, sexual orientation, religion and physical ability, but also along the new dimensions of marriage, networking, safety, mobility and space. Despite local and cross-cultural differences in the significance of these factors, the cumulative disadvantage suffered by women staff seeking career development in the industry was remarkably similar

Citation

Woodward, D. & Ozbilgin, M. (2004). Belonging and otherness: sex equality in banking in Turkey and Britain. Gender, Work and Organization. 11, 668-688. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0432.2004.00254.x. ISSN 0968-6673

Keywords

sex equality; financial services sector; Turkey; Britain; belonging; otherness; banking;

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