Despite improvements in opportunities, women remain concentrated in particular occupational sectors and roles. What underlies this situation? Do women simply prefer distinct types of work? Or are current patterns more a function of external limitations on initial ambitions? Although there is a wealth of literature relating to gendered occupational segregation, there is comparatively little seeking to account for how work choices are made from the individual's perspective. Ruth Woodfield offers a detailed, qualitative exploration of over one hundred and eighty girls' and women's accounts of their journeys towards work choices. She examines narratives of work decisions and experiences through the lens of commentary on two neglected case study occupations - fire fighting and teaching - and explores the impact of the media, parents, teachers, as well as discourses of masculinity and femininity, individualism and collectivism, free will and constraint, on the development of these individual perspectives.

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