Women in the Office

  • Fiona McNally


Nine o’clock in the morning on a cold winter’s day in the city … and everywhere you look women are striding briskly to work, bare-legged in zero degree weather … Most of these women are striding toward their typewriters and yesterday’s unfinished dictation, toward a banking job where they count money rather than make it, toward work with no future except more of the same. Married or unmarried, ambitious or not, they are making their daily rendezvous with a world in which women are largely tolerated, on the grounds that men can no more be expected to use a typewriter or answer the telephone than to wash socks or clean house.1

In spite of the fact that nearly half of all white-collar workers are women, few sociologists have considered it worthwhile to turn the spotlight on their experiences and attitudes.2 They are often excluded from empirical studies of clerical workers, or else accorded footnote status of a mainly statistical nature. Some studies attach little or no importance to the sexual composition of their subjects, their authors seemingly of the opinion that the gender of a white-collar worker is of no consequence for attitudes to work, location in the office hierarchy, opportunities for promotion, or indeed any other aspect of the work situation.


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Notes and References

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Copyright information

© Fiona McNally 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fiona McNally

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