2020 IRSPM Rosemary O’Leary prize winner for research on women in public administration

April 22nd, 2020

IRSPM is delighted to announce the 2020 IRSPM Rosemary O'Leary prize winner for research on women in public administration:

Ayesha Masood, Assistant Professor at the Suleman Dawood School of Business,
Lahore University of Management Sciences

Ayesha's journal article ‘Influence of Marriage on Women’s Participation in Medicine: The Case of Doctor Brides of Pakistan’, published in Sex Roles, 80: 105–122, was chosen as this year’s winner by an IRSPM board panel (Deborah Blackman, Helen Sullivan and Jenny Lewis). The article deals with marriage and female doctors in Pakistan and is very nuanced in dealing with the complicated nature of multiple overlapping roles for women in medicine, and includes an impressive intertwining of many different levels and concepts. It also deals with women ‘street-level’ public servants working in STEMM areas in a way that is very different to Western framings of this topic. Finally, the panel found that the article has clear implications for practice and recommendations for future research.

Ayesha noted: “I am honoured to be nominated and to receive this award. Rosemary O'Leary's path breaking work on dissent and resistance in bureaucracy has been a constant source of inspiration for scholars like me.”


Despite the difficulties women in Pakistan face in their access to education, their numbers have been increasing consistently in medical colleges. However, most of the women medical graduates do not go on to practice medicine after graduation. One of the reasons suggested by Pakistani media and society for this increase in the number of women medical graduates is the desirability of women doctors in Pakistan’s marriage market. Based on an ethnographic study of Pakistani women doctors, I examine why women doctors are considered desirable as spouses and how this influences women’s access to medical education. I found that women doctors are valued as marital partners because of the status granted to them by their academic credentials, chaste educational experience, and potential to contribute to family income. Because of the value of medical education in marriage, parents are more willing to invest in their daughters’ education, facilitating women’s access to medical education. I also found that, as a way of bargaining with the patriarchy, women doctors accept the social norms of arranged marriage because it allows them access to professional education, economic opportunities, and a better bargaining position in the marriage market. Overall, I found that, unless underlying patriarchal norms are addressed, potentially empowering projects like women’s education will be co-opted by the existing structures of domination. I also discuss potential implications for changing marriage patterns and increasing representation of women in Pakistan’s medical workforce.


Link to article: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11199-018-0909-5