Ne Ma


I joined the Leeds University of Business School as a doctoral researcher in October 2020. Before that I was working in pharmaceutical industry in China. I completed my bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance at University of Exeter and then obtained MSc in Marketing and Management at Loughborough University prior I stepped in industry.

My ongoing doctoral study focuses on how unfulfilled gender expectations affect women’s career trajectories and professional identities. Looking at work and life experiences of unmarried childfree Chinese working women in China and UK, this research aims to understand how the influences from not performing socially prescribed gender roles affect their experiences, choices, and perception of selves at workplace and labour market. Besides, this research attempts to explore to what extent the different political ideologies and socio-cultural contexts related to gender relations and women’s rights would impact on professional women’s gender and professional identities.




Research interests

My current PhD projects looks forward to bridging a potential theoretical gap in gender and employment from a non-Eurocentric perspective: extant research has vastly examined the concept of motherhood penalty, but the pressures and discriminations from unfulfilled gender expectations of women, either obvious or subtle, on their economic activities and labour participantion remains relatively under-explored— particularly when women feel compelled to perform gender roles to achieve “life completeness” by reconfiguring work and life. Those questions should be paid more attention given greater gender inequality during the post-Covid era, as UN shows that the pandemic reduces women's equal opportunities to participant in labour market and reconfirms the traditional gender division of labour. Thus, the research is expected to contribute to the understanding of nuanced relationship between women’s productive and reproductive activities, which are not simply dependent by women’s personal choices but also by macro socio-cultural, political, and institutional forces


My research interests also include gender and employment, (expected) motherhood penalty, singlism, gender relations, social media and feminist movement in China, work and life experiences of marginalized groups. As a PhD student, I’m happy to communicate with other academics, researchers, PhDs, and activists who share similar or related research interests. You can contact me through my university email:




  • MSc Marketing and Management, Loughborough University
  • BA Accounting and Finance, University of Exeter

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Employment Relations, Innovation and Change