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Common Careers, Different Experiences

Common Careers, Different Experiences: Women Managers in Hong Kong and Britain

Katharine Venter
Copyright Date: 2002
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Common Careers, Different Experiences
    Book Description:

    While there is extensive data on the experiences of women working in managerial positions in Britain, there is a dearth of such information in Hong Kong. Consequently much of our understanding and beliefs about these women's lives are based on issues that concern women in the West, such as subordination and the struggle for equal rights. There is also a widespread belief that women have made more progress in improving their position in Britain than Hong Kong. Using interviews, surveys and existing documentation, this book illustrates that these perceptions do not adequately explain the situation of women managers in Hong Kong. On the contrary, research shows that Hong Kong women managers enjoy a relatively smooth career path while those in Britain often experience downward occupational mobility and breaks in their careers. Through comparing the stories of women managers in Hong Kong and Britain and exploring how culture shapes their tales, Common Careers, Different Experiences urges us to revise our perceptions of women's experiences.

    eISBN: 978-988-220-081-4
    Subjects: Economics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. CHAPTER 1 Introduction: Lives and Careers of Women Managers in Hong Kong and Britain
    (pp. 1-16)

    This book explores the lives and careers of women managers in Hong Kong and Britain. In doing so, it seeks to examine why the particular patterns of career path that exist have emerged and how the women themselves understand and account for their careers. The intention is that such research should shed light on the role played by culture, as compared to other factors, in influencing patterns of working life. It is argued that while culture plays a crucial role in making sense of social reality, its role can be understood only through the different networks of social relationships that...

  5. CHAPTER 2 From Traditionalism to Progress: A Convergence of Experience?
    (pp. 17-38)

    The main concern of most studies of women managers has been to compare them with their male counterparts both numerically and more qualitatively in terms of experience. There has been less an attempt to examine how universal these experiences are, a topic which could also further our understanding of why women are in the positions they are. A comparison between women in different cultures, as well as comparison between men and women, can also assist us in understanding the explanations behind, and the solutions for, women’s subordinate positions and the continued lack of women in positions of highest status in...

  6. CHAPTER 3 Culture and Work-Related Values: The Context of Women Managersʹ Careers
    (pp. 39-60)

    The first section of this chapter aims to provide a brief review of key studies that have explored how we can make sense of cultural differences and identifies the dimensions along which cultural differences can be located. In the second section of the chapter, the aim is to narrow the focus somewhat so as to examine the cultures of Hong Kong and Britain specifically. In the following chapters, we move on to explore how cultural context shapes the nature and experience of women’s managerial careers.

    Ever since interest in culture has been expressed, researchers have established different elements of cultures,...

  7. CHAPTER 4 The Workplace Domain of Women Managers in Hong Kong and Britain
    (pp. 61-96)

    The aim of this chapter is to explore the workplace domain of a group of women managers in Hong Kong as compared to a group in Britain in terms of the natures and patterns of their careers and their experiences within the workplace. It is argued that the pattern of career for women managers in Hong Kong is quite different from the pattern in Britain. It is also argued that although these women have in common the fact that they have embarked on management careers, the actual experience of those careers is quite different in Hong Kong than in Britain....

  8. CHAPTER 5 Case Studies, Part 1: Careers Without Children
    (pp. 97-130)

    The aim of this chapter and the next is to draw out the themes from the previous chapter and explore what these really meant for the women themselves and how they were manifested in their experiences. This is achieved through the use of case studies based on the qualitative interviews with the women involved and their own explanations and interpretations of their careers and the experiences that they encountered along the way. The chapter is based on the ‘stories’ of the women involved. These stories have been organized around the life events that this research and existing literature have identified...

  9. CHAPTER 6 Case Studies, Part 2: Career Responses to Marriage and Motherhood
    (pp. 131-178)

    In the previous chapter, we have examined the careers and experiences of single and married women managers without children. Childbirth has been shown to have one of the most dramatic effects on the career. However, for a number of reasons, further explored in this chapter and the next, childbirth does not appear to have as dramatic an impact on the careers of women managers in Hong Kong relative to their counterparts in Britain. In this chapter, the stories of women who have had children are presented. It has been suggested that the age of the children is significant in informing...

  10. CHAPTER 7 Growing Up in Families
    (pp. 179-194)

    The previous chapters documented the life courses of a number of women managers in Britain and Hong Kong. One of the central arguments of this book is that it is the differences in the conception of the family and in family structure that explain the different life courses and career paths that we have witnessed so far. This chapter takes the reader chronologically through women’s experiences of growing up in families, becoming parents themselves and organizing their own parenting, in order to further illustrate how differences in the family become manifested in the choices that women make about their careers....

  11. CHAPTER 8 Explaining Differences in Women Managersʹ Careers
    (pp. 195-214)

    In the preceding chapters, it has been demonstrated that firstly, there are different career path patterns between women managers in Hong Kong and those in Britain. In Britain, I have suggested that these tend to be somewhat disjointed. In Hong Kong, while many women still leave employment entirely around the time of having children, for those who remain in employment, the career path is comparatively smooth. Secondly, I have suggested that not only do the structural patterns of career vary between women managers in Hong Kong and those in Britain, but so too does the qualitative experience of those careers....

  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 215-242)
  13. Index
    (pp. 243-246)