Antecedents of gender gap in workforce participation: a phenomenology of psychologists and medical doctors in urban Pakistan

Author Affiliation

Gulnaz Anjum is Assistant Professor at Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karach

Faculty / School

Faculty of Business Administration (FBA)


Department of Social Sciences & Liberal Arts

Was this content written or created while at IBA?


Document Type


Source Publication

Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment




In recent years, the participation of young women in education has been on the rise and yet many of them do not end up joining the workforce. This is particularly true for the fields of medicine, and psychology. Using a qualitative research design, we explored underlying social and psychological reasons (antecedents) for this lack of professional participation by females who had or are graduating in medical and psychology degrees. The sample of this qualitative study consisted of 67 female informants including medical doctors, medical students, psychologists, and psychology students. The results based on interpretive phenomenological analyses (IPA) indicated multiple key antecedents that play a crucial role in keeping women from their professional participation in the two fields. Results based on IPA indicated that Gender Role Beliefs and Strain, Economic Decision Making, Women’s Mobility, Role of Society, Objectification of Women and explicit Discrimination and Violence were key thematic antecedents. There were multiple subthemes that emerged as reasons why women’s participation and stay in these fields was difficult, hence creating a substantial gender gap in professional participation and success in the workforce. Knowledge and understanding of these antecedents and their role in prevalence of gender gap in workforce participation is crucial for building policies and strategies on how to engage and retain women in professional work-force. Cultural relevance and societal implications of our findings are discussed with their policy recommendations.

Indexing Information

HJRS - X Category, Scopus, Web of Science - Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI)

Publication Status