The rhetoric of PDP in higher education: a gender-neutral discourse?

James Moir*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Personal development Planning (PDP) has become a central feature for students in higher education and is linked to employability. This has come about as the result of an awareness that in a globalized education and workplace market, students need to be more competitive in developing and marketing their academic and other skills. However, this inner-directed process has spawned a discourse of voluntarism that dissolves engagement with political issues such as the gender implications of programmes of study and associated careers. This paper argues that a gender-neutral focus on the ‘person’ can potentially lead to the maintenance of inequalities for career pathways for men and women. This conceptualization is compared with that of work-life balance which, in effect, is taken as applying more to women than men, but which is formulated within gender-neutral discourse.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-18
Number of pages12
JournalAcademic Journal of International Education Research
Issue number1
Early online date1 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021


  • Personal development planning
  • Gender
  • Higher education


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