Gender, Work and Organisation International Interdisciplinary Conference

CLET's Director Kate Martin and Managing Director Allen Williams joined experts from all over the world at the internationally renowned Gender, Work and Organisation International Interdisciplinary Conference at the Hyatt Regency in Sydney where Kate presented on Saturday 16 June 18.

Kate shared findings from her Doctoral Research: Moving forward – identity work post service for Australian uniformed professionals in the Defence Force, Police and Emergency Services.

Kate's presentation was based on the narratives of professionals from these organisations and will explore the identity connect of individuals to their former service and barriers to job satisfaction in post service employment.

Kate's paper examines the impact of collective identity on individuals who were previously employed in occupations that are renowned for hegemonic masculinity (Barrett, 1996; Connell & Messerschmidt, 2005). Connell and Messerschmidt (2005) have reformulated a number of the earlier concepts of hegemonic masculinity founded by Connell (Connell & Messerschmidt, 2005) and their work on the relationship of dynamics of masculinities to gendered power are of influence here.

This paper explores the challenges facing men and women in male dominated workplaces to redefine their masculinity after leaving. Based on the narratives of 32 former uniformed professionals from Australian police, military and emergency services organisations, the study explores the identity connect of individuals to their former service and barriers to job satisfaction in post service employment.

The findings reveal the struggles of individuals as they are forced to redefine their identities after long term immersion in a male dominated workplace. The exit from the service organisation leaves them disoriented as they try to reintegrate into a community from which they self-ostracized and, against expectations, there was little to no difference in the struggles of both the men and the women as they try to find their feet outside of service.

The paper explores the impact of male dominated workplaces on both the men and the women through the development of skills and knowledge that are unique to those workplaces and non-transferable to other employment sectors. In particular, the paper examines the expectation for the development of masculinity in the women in the roles and the confusion they face when expected discard that masculinity and engage their femininity post service.

Further, it addresses the identity work that is needed by the men and women post service to disconnect themselves from their service identity, and explores the reasons why this is so difficult. By exploring the concept that organisations such as police, military and emergency services are exemplars of masculinity, and that individuals who move out of these organisations are confronted with no longer living up to these expectations.

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