Women in traditionally male trades and professions: a reality tinged with gender stereotypes requiring a critical, systemic, comparative and multidisciplinary analysis

There remain many inequalities and obstacles related to the advancement and retention of women within organizations, especially those where men long made up or still make up the majority of workers, as seen in the under-representation of women in decision-making positions, income inequality and specific challenges relating to parenthood.

This research stands out from the work already done in that, beyond presenting statistics and obstacles, it aims to present actual or desirable organizational practices for fostering the retention of women within various work settings in Québec.

This projet presents organizational practices for fostering the retention of women within various work settings in Québec.

Its objective is to shed new light on various questions that remain relevant: how have certain organizations (law firms, banks, engineering firms, etc.) managed to balance work and family and pay their male and female employees more equitably? What organizational measures have supported the advancement and retention of women in certain historically male professions (such as correctional officers, detectives and college administrators)? What management practices can be implemented to reconcile parenthood with stays abroad in science-related professions (such as doctors and engineers)?

Going beyond the—albeit essential—study of individual trajectories, this research uncovers the contextual and cultural dimensions of organizations that influence women's career paths and job retention. Far from presenting a miracle recipe or unique transferable model to correct situations of inequality in the workplace, the proposed approach is based on a dynamic process aimed at identifying the key elements favourable to retention in terms of the recruitment process, working conditions, work-life balance, work climate, individual coaching and access to decision-making positions.

Main researcher

Sophie Brière, Université Laval


Research report

Call for proposals

Deposit of the research report: March 2018