The First Men in Leadership Positions in the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists

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This exploratory study focuses on the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists. It sheds light on the process by which men gain access to leadership positions in a female-dominated setting. It also expands the narrative of the professional association's history.


As soon as men became eligible for membership in 1947, they gained access to leadership positions in disproportionate numbers and at a faster pace than women at the national level and in a number of states. The specific pattern of findings is consistent with volitional relational practices, suggesting that women facilitated the integration and empowerment of male colleagues who constituted a small minority in the association.


The paper discusses the need to understand and manage the interactions between relational practices that are gendered female and views of leadership as male-gendered.

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