Women's professional choice in geography: National sentiments and national exclusion

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This article demonstrates the impact of the masculine construction of both modern nationalism and academia on the estrangement of women within the academic discipline of geography in Israel. I argue that the academic elite of Israeli geography has been constructed as a national-masculine arena, combining the heritage of power relations in modern geography and the imperative to serve the national return of exiled Jews to their ancient homeland. I begin by analyzing the masculine construction of Jewish Israeli culture and ideology, in general, and that of Israeli geography, in particular, and go on to examine how this maculinization shaped the professional choice of eight junior women geographers, whose biographies are similar to mine. Relying on in-depth interviews, the article discusses the common features that attracted these women to the masculine discipline of geography, and how, at undergraduate level, they opted for teaching as a means of realizing their personal interests and national sentiments toward the landscape. I further argue that by labeling teaching a feminine domain, these women focused on the national-masculine field of geography without breaking the national consensus that marginalizes women. Moreover, the construction of breadwinning as masculine was seen as significant in these women's choices, as it allowed them some freedom. In conclusion, therefore, I argue that for these junior women geographers, opting for teaching is one way of eschewing "masculine" economic responsibility, and this replays, rather than challenges, gender divisions in Israeli society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)555-571
Number of pages17
JournalWomen's Studies International Forum
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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