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Women in Denial?

Fiona Wilson, University of Glasgow


This paper will look at the how female bank lenders are locked into a position of disadvantage in a UK bank. Women make up about 40 of the 400 bank loan officers and only 1% of those in the most senior jobs within the bank. The paper describes and analyses how the women see themselves as equal or unequal and considers the power dynamics played out. The paper draws on the work of Pierre Bourdieu for the conceptual framework. The findings show how much the body matters in differing treatment of men and women in banking. Sexism also plays a part in differing treatment and unequal promotions. The women are not homogeneous in their views of the inequalities they face; the most powerful women appeared to be “in denial” about the inequalities.

Fiona Wilson’s research focuses mainly on relationships between men and women at work. In the past she has been involved in research on, for example, romance at work, gender and the professions, sexual harassment. She has recently finished an ESRC funded project on banks’ lending to male and female business owners. Fiona Wilson is currently researching for new editions of her two books. She is also about to start work on a project looking at student finance and debt. Fiona Wilson has recently been involved in a working group, and sub group, set up to implement the Gender Equality Duty in the  University of Glasgow.


Inge Bleijenbergh, Radboud University Nijmegen