Gender Inequalities in Nursing Careers


Nursing provides a unique opportunity to examine the extent and causes of gender-based inequalities in the labour market. Although only a small proportion of nurses are men, they are more likely than women to be in senior positions. Gender Inequalities in Nursing Careers documents the full extent of men’s career advantage within nursing and explores the reasons for this.

The book is based on a nationally representative survey of nurses working in the NHS. The survey obtained information from 14,000 respondents, making it the largest one of nurses ever undertaken in this country. Its size and scope allow it to show the full extent of the differences between the positions of men and women in nursing - and the survey reveals that this difference is larger than had previously been thought.

Analyses testing key explanations for men’s greater likelihood to be found in more senior positions are presented. These include: whether this was a consequence of differences in the qualifications and work experience of men and women; whether organisational barriers faced by women in the workplace are important; or whether this is a result of differences in women and men’s orientations to work. Clear conclusions result from this study, which highlight the difficulties faced by women in employment and when pursuing a career. Especially important is that these difficulties are found to be present for women working in a predominantly female occupation such as nursing and employed by an organisation with clear equal opportunities policies, such as the NHS. The policy implications of this are discussed.