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Continuity and change in the gender segregation of the medical profession in Britain and France
International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
No spécial : Health Professions, Gender and Society
It is a well established fact that the entry of women into higher-level professional occupations has not resulted in their equal distribution within these occupations. Indeed, the emergence and persistence of horizontal and vertical gender segregation within the professions has been at the heart of the development of a range of alternative theoretical perspectives on both the "feminisation process" and the future of the "professions"more generally. Through an in-depth comparative analysis of the recent changes in the organisation and administration of the medical profession in Britain and France, this paper draws upon statistical data and biographical interviews with male and female general practitioners (GPs) in both countries in order to discuss and review a variety of approaches that have been adopted to explain and analyse the "eminisation" process of higher-level professions. Our conclusions review the theoretical debates in the light of the evidence we have presented. It is argued that, despite important elements of continuity in respect of gendered occupational structuring in both countries, national variations in both professional and domestic gendered architectures lead to different outcomes as far as the extent and patterns of internal occupational segregation are concerned. Both female and male doctors are currently seeking - with some effect - to resist thepressures of medicine on family life.
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