Frayed careers of migrant female professors in British academia: An intersectional perspective

Kate Sang, Haya Al-Dajani, Mustafa Ozbilgin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)


Women and migrants continue to make inroads into the academic labour market in the UK, where their numbers are increasing. However, the same pattern of access is not true for these two groups in terms of their representation in positions of power and influence in the higher education sector in the country. Intuitively, at the intersection of these two disadvantaged groups, migrant women academics in full professorial posts should suffer from frayed careers. Drawing on life-story interviews with nine migrant women who hold full professorial posts in UK academia, we challenge the frayed careers concept, and the double disadvantage discourse, from an intersectional perspective. Our findings demonstrate the surprising rather than summative nature of intersections between gender and ethnicity and as such lend support to the argument that disadvantages across multiple categories of difference do not necessarily translate into multiple jeopardy at the level of careers. Instead, our study reveals that the status of migrant female academics as double outsiders has more explanatory power than their status as subjects of double disadvantage.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-171
Number of pages14
JournalGender, Work & Organization
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


  • Frayed careers
  • Intersectionality
  • Migrant women professors

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