Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to deploy the concept of the “glass slipper” to unpack the construction of systematic patterns of inclusion and exclusion along the lines of gender, age and class in the emerging, female-dominated profession of psychological counselling in Russia. Design/methodology/approach – The study draws on an analysis of 26 in-depth qualitative interviews with practising counsellors in Russia. Findings – Drawing on the glass slipper concept, the article demonstrates how seemingly neutral discursive “rules” of professional conduct articulated by counsellors create an association between a collective professional identity and the social identities of typical practitioners, making this profession appear most suitable for middle-aged, middle-class women. The findings also show how certain embodied identities – in this case masculinity – may be able to “fit” into a slipper that was not made for them. Originality/value – The paper extends the understanding of the dynamics of inequality patterns in a feminized profession in the Russian context by unveiling previously underexplored patterns of marginalization along the lines of class and age. It also strengthens the collective-associative view of occupational identity and extends the glass slipper concept by exposing the mechanisms of body-work association in this profession and demonstrating that certain identity characteristics may be more universally privileged in the construction of professional identities.
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 20, 2015
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