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Disappearing gender: choices in identity

Lumby, Jacky (2008) Disappearing gender: choices in identity In, Sobehart, Helen C. (eds.) Women Leading Education Across the Continents: Sharing the Spirit, Fanning the Flame. Lanham, USA, Rowman and Littlefield pp. 29-38.

Record type: Book Section


This paper locates gender as one of the multiple identities that comprise the fluid kaleidoscope of an individual existence. It suggests that its effects may mutate as it intersects with other characteristics and as the individual in question chooses to foreground, conceal or transform how gender is self-perceived and projected. The paper challenges a focus on gender as a single characteristic, reflecting longstanding concerns about the inadequacy of gender alone as an organising frame for analysing disadvantage. The paper draws on interviews with women leaders in educational settings in England and South Africa to explore how we might understand their construction of a leadership identity, where gender fits or does not in their own estimation, and in what ways their self-perceived gender had become more or less significant or had changed in their careers. It makes no claim to be representative of women or any subgroup of women. Rather the interviews are used to probe the utility of gender, identity and intersectionality theories in analysing inclusion or exclusion from leadership.

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Published date: December 2008
Keywords: gender, education leadership, intersectionality, identity


Local EPrints ID: 64882
ISBN: 1578869951
PURE UUID: 81b47dfe-2fb2-4208-bf7c-f23e3ed26d0e

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Date deposited: 20 Jan 2009
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 14:11

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Author: Jacky Lumby
Editor: Helen C. Sobehart

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