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Soc Sci Med. 2011 Jun;72(12):2033-40. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2011.04.016. Epub 2011 May 18.

Scouting for talent: appointment practices of women professors in academic medicine.

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Radboud University Nijmegen, Institute for Management Research, Thomas van Aquinostraat 3, Nijmegen, Netherlands.


This paper contributes to current literature on the under-representation of women in academic medicine by critically examining appointment practices for medical professors in the Netherlands. By opening the black box of these highly secretive appointments, it is shown how allegedly gender-neutral practices contribute to the perpetuation of gender inequalities in academic medicine. The methods employed include quantitative analysis of 286 appointment reports and qualitative interviews with 21 scouts. The analysis revealed a dominant pattern of recruitment by invitation by male scouts, leading to three gender mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion through formal/informal networking. When candidates are recruited through homogeneous male networks, the pool of potential candidates is drastically restricted. Women are not seen as obvious choices for professorships since their commitment to the job is questioned. Furthermore, women do not correspond to the image of the ideal manager since they do not appear to conform to the gendered preconceptions of leadership held by the predominantly male scouts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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