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Volunteering, Gender and Power: Making conditions visible and understanding male dominance in a volunteer context with a gender perspective
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.), Organization and management.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The background for this thesis is found in the patterns of gender inequality in civil society organizations. Existing research provide little comprehensive knowledge of the conditions for women and men in civil society organizations. To help fill this gap in knowledge the purpose of this thesis is to explore the conditions for women and men as volunteers in a male dominated civil society organization with a gender perspective and make any eventual inequalities visible. The thesis explores the conditions women and men face in their volunteering, what gender differences can be found and how the male dominance can be understood. The study is based on data from a self-administrated survey conducted among volunteers in a Swedish male dominated civil society organization. Questions concerned their volunteer work and their experience of the situation as female and male volunteers in the organization. Empirical patterns were identified and gender theories were used as a basis for the interpretation of the results. The findings from this case illustrate that women and men do not face equal conditions in their volunteer work. Most volunteers were happy with their work as volunteers. However, male volunteers typically held positions of more power, influence and higher status than women. Female volunteers were in a token position and in many ways had to prove themselves as well as adapt to conditions formed to suit men, by men, as representatives of the norm. The male dominance could be related to perceptions of the ideal volunteer; a competent man loyal to the organization and without inconvenient responsibilities elsewhere. Another aspect which could be related to the male dominance was patterns of social interactions that favour male volunteers, in this case homosocial relations, which are created in the interaction between the ambiguities of unstructured processes and gendered expectations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 117 p.
Keyword [en]
volunteer work, gender, organization, male dominance
National Category
Economics and Business
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-154839OAI: diva2:758794
Available from: 2014-11-05 Created: 2014-10-28 Last updated: 2014-11-05Bibliographically approved

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