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'Are we to become a gender university?' Facets of resistance to a gender equality project
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies, Gender Studies.
2018 (English)In: Gender, Work and Organization, ISSN 0968-6673, E-ISSN 1468-0432, Vol. 25, no 2, p. 127-143Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Gender equality (GE) is something we cannot not want'. Indeed, the pursuit of equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities for all women and men throughout a society freed from gendered oppression is widely visible in recent organizational GE initiatives. In practice, however, GE initiatives often fail in challenging gendered norms and at effecting deep-seated change. In fact, GE measures tend to encounter resistance, with a gap between saying and doing. Using a GE project at a Swedish university, we examined the changing nature of reactions to GE objectives seeking to understand why gender inequality persists in academia. We used resistance' to identify multiple, complex reactions to the project, focusing on the discursive practices of GE. Focusing our contextual analysis on change and changes in reactions enabled a process-oriented analysis that revealed gaps where change is possible. Thus, we argue that studying change makes it possible to identify points in time where gendered discriminatory norms are more likely to occur. However, analysing discursive practices does not itself lead to change nor to action. Rather, demands for change must start with answering, in a collaborative way, what problem we are trying to solve when we start a new GE project, in order to be relevant to the specific context. Otherwise, GE risks being the captive of consensus politics and gender inequality will persist.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 25, no 2, p. 127-143
Keywords [en]
academia, resistance, gender equality, meritocracy
National Category
Gender Studies
Research subject
Gender Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-150450DOI: 10.1111/gwao.12204ISI: 000429418400003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-150450DiVA, id: diva2:1167939
Available from: 2017-12-19 Created: 2017-12-19 Last updated: 2018-05-02Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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