Beyond the Private Sphere—Focussing on Women’s Friendships

  • Jennifer WilkinsonEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Macmillan Studies in Family and Intimate Life book series (PSFL)


Sociologists argue that friendship is shaped by the social context. This means that aspects of a social structure, including gender inequality, will affect sociability patterns. In the late-twentieth century, the significance of women’s sociability was described and evaluated primarily in relation to their position within a private domestic sphere. Although this was seen to encourage the development of a distinctive pattern of intimate friendships, it also reflected gender inequalities. In this chapter, discussions of women’s workplace friendships are introduced to explore the significance of context, specifically public work settings, for women’s sociability. Examples of intimate work friendships are considered, raising questions about how women’s friendships are affected by the setting and modified by their increased participation in paid work.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of SydneySydneyAustralia

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