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Knowing Her Place

Positioning Women in Science Valerie Bevan, Honorary Teaching Fellow, Lancaster University Management School and Caroline Gatrell, Professor of Organization Studies, University of Liverpool Management School, UK
More women are studying science at university and they consistently outperform men. Yet, still, significantly fewer women than men hold prestigious jobs in science. Why should this occur? What prevents women from achieving as highly as men in science? And why are so few women positioned as ‘creative genius’ research scientists?

Drawing upon the views of 47 (female and male) scientists, Bevan and Gatrell explore why women are less likely than men to become eminent in their profession. They observe three mechanisms which perpetuate women’s lowered ‘place’ in science: subtle masculinities (whereby certain forms of masculinity are valued over womanhood); (m)otherhood (in which women’s potential for maternity positions them as ‘other’), and the image of creative genius which is associated with male bodies, excluding women from research roles.
Extent: c 232 pp
Hardback Price: $120.00 Web: $108.00
Publication Date: December 2017
ISBN: 978 1 78347 651 0
Availability: Not yet published (pre-order)
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  • Business and Management
  • Diversity and Management
  • Gender and Management
More women are studying science at university and they consistently outperform men. Yet, still, significantly fewer women than men hold prestigious jobs in science. Why should this occur? What prevents women from achieving as highly as men in science? And why are so few women positioned as ‘creative genius’ research scientists?

Drawing upon the views of 47 (female and male) scientists, Bevan and Gatrell explore why women are less likely than men to become eminent in their profession. They observe three mechanisms which perpetuate women’s lowered ‘place’ in science: subtle masculinities (whereby certain forms of masculinity are valued over womanhood); (m)otherhood (in which women’s potential for maternity positions them as ‘other’), and the image of creative genius which is associated with male bodies, excluding women from research roles.
‘Valerie Bevan and Caroline Gatrell have written a fascinating book about women in science. Whilst much has been said in the media about the lack of women in senior science roles nobody has really provided the story behind the woeful figures. These authors form a terrific partnership in that one of them is a working scientist and the other is a highly regarded academic who writes about women and leadership. Together they have crafted a book which captures the actual experiences of mainly women but also men in science and together theorise why the underrepresentation of women in leadership positions in science continues. This is both an informative and engaging book and deserves to be read widely.’
– Susan Vinnicombe CBE, Cranfield University, UK

‘This is an important book. It sheds genuinely new light on why the practice of science, especially at “VIP” level, remains so dominated by men. Bevan and Gatrell provide evocative, personal accounts of what it’s really like to practice science as a woman. They do this through a detailed, fine-grained and convincing analysis of the voices of women in healthcare science; voices which have remained, at best, in the background of debates – until now.’
– Mark Learmonth, Durham University Business School, UK

‘Knowing Her Place: Positioning Women in Science is a book we should have had 20 years ago. It is an outstanding book about the issues that affect women working in science; the problems, dilemmas, their careers, motherhood, etc. It is the best book ever written on this subject, and makes a major contribution to the field of women at work. This is a must buy for anyone interested in science more generally, and how we can get more women engaged in science.’
– Sir Cary Cooper, University of Manchester, UK
Contents: 1. Introduction: setting the scene 2. Positioning women in their place 3. Subtle masculinities at work 4. Secret careers 5. Creative genius in science 6. Motherhood 7. Concluding remarks and recommendations Index