Senior women in management and the professions are caught in a dilemma: they are isolated from other women both because they are few in number and because most women do not achieve or aspire to achieve high levels of professional success. However, they have to fight harder than men to maintain and improve on their success and, as I have argued above, there is limited support for women under patriarchy.
Most women who are in senior roles reject feminist ideology, theory and practice. However, analysis of their positions within patriarchal organisations may only be accomplished within a feminist framework. Non-feminist perspectives make gender, and thus the experience of women as women, invisible.
In the final section of this book I attempt to draw together feminism, subjectivity, biography and psychoanalysis to make sense of women's lives in a professional context. In doing this, the aim is to develop a model, not only for survival, but for individual and organisational growth in connection with gender equality.
In Chapter 7, 'Barriers, boundaries and emotion', I examine the psychological consequences of the complex gender differences in emotional connectedness between women and men. What strategies do each employ for survival? How do women in senior roles cope with their marginalisation and isolation in organisational life?
The chapter begins by reiterating the contrasting patterns of psychological development between women and men as careers develop and individuals confer a meaning on their lives through accounting for themselves biographically. It contrasts the coherence between male success and masculine identity with the divergence between feminine success and feminine identity. Women remain marginal to the grand narrative of career success and organisational power. While this is the