Discusses how equality audits of local authorities reveal identifiable gender cultures, such as the “gentleman′s club”, the “locker room”, the “barrack yard”, the “gender‐blind”, and the “smart macho”. Describes how women and men feel that they and their colleagues have been influenced by these cultures, and how they reinforce persistent stereotypes about “women and work”. Gender cultures affect both men and women′s decisions and behaviour at work. The prevailing gender culture in one department may be different from that in another department in the same authority but most authorities had pockets of all the cultures described. The women managers interviewed recognized the dilemmas and difficulties women face when breaking with traditional norms within a workplace with pre‐ordained gender cultures. Reinforces the view that exclusive work culture is powerful in its negative influence over women′s development and promotion prospects, but that preconceptions and sexual stereotypes about men and women′s roles are still determining many women′s behaviour, their lives and reducing their opportunities.