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Article

Ellen Kuhlmann and Ivy Lynn Bourgeault

This article aims to provide an overview on key trends in public sector policy and professional development and how they intersect with gender and diversity. It seeks to…

Abstract

Purpose

This article aims to provide an overview on key trends in public sector policy and professional development and how they intersect with gender and diversity. It seeks to explore new configurations in the relationship between gender and the professions and to develop a matrix for the collection of articles presented in this volume.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors link social policy and governance approaches to the study of professions, using the health professions and academics as case studies. Material from a number of studies carried out by the authors together with published secondary sources provide the basis of our analysis; this is followed by an introduction of the scope and structure of this thematic issue.

Findings

The findings underline the significance of public policy as key to better understand gender and diversity in professional groups. The outline of major trends in public sector professions brings into focus both the persistence of gender inequality and the emergence of new lines of gendered divisions in the professions.

Practical implications

The research presented here highlights a need for new models of public sector management and professional development that are more sensitive to equality and diversity.

Originality/value

This article focuses on the “making” of inequality at the interface of public policy and professional action. It introduces a context sensitive approach that moves beyond equal opportunity policies and managerial accounts and highlights new directions in research and policy.

Details

Equal Opportunities International, vol. 27 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0261-0159

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Article

Andrea May Rowe

The purpose of this paper is to present a comparative case study of national innovation system in Canada and Sweden from the perspective of gender equality. The case study…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present a comparative case study of national innovation system in Canada and Sweden from the perspective of gender equality. The case study focuses on public policy to illuminate the formal aspects of innovation systems as they are conceived by the state in relation to gender, diversity and social inclusion. Formal policy measures are contrasted with interview data to provide a holistic picture of innovation policy as it relates to gender equality in both countries.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper relies on data from 44 qualitative interviews with innovation leaders in the public sector, private sector and academia in Canada and Sweden, as well as a sample of innovation and gender experts at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), in Paris, France, between 2012 and 2014. The theoretical framework draws on feminist institutionalism to explain the gendered interactions of institutions in innovation spaces.

Findings

This study finds that Sweden is a global policy leader in the development of gender-conscious innovation policy, while Canada has yet to consider a gender-conscious approach to innovation policy. Gender-conscious innovation policy norms have not traveled across the OECD because of administrative solos and political opportunity structures.

Research/limitations implications

Each of the people contacted to sit for an interview was chosen primarily on their professional title and their ability to speak from a place of knowledge about innovation in their country and or industry, and this creates a success bias within the study focusing on the knowledge of elites in the field.

Practical implications

This study explores how policy might be reimagined to support gender equality and diversity, thus changing the institutional landscape to support a wider range of innovations and distributing the benefits of innovation in a more equitable way.

Social implications

This paper challenges assumptions about the social and economic power dynamics reflected in current innovation systems in Canada and Sweden.

Originality/value

This is the first study of its kind in comparative public policy to explore differences in gender equality and innovation policy in Canada and Sweden. This research also contributes more widely to the existing body of gender, public policy and innovation literatures in Canada and Sweden, respectively.

Details

International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, vol. 10 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1756-6266

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Article

Marte C.W. Solheim and Sigrun Marie Moss

The purpose of this paper is to explain how theories of inter-organizational learning can create new insights and nuances to how processes of intra-organizational learning…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explain how theories of inter-organizational learning can create new insights and nuances to how processes of intra-organizational learning come about in a single, complex and multi-sited organization.

Design/methodology/approach

A constructivist thematic analysis of the “Handbook of Feminist Foreign Policy” produced by the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SMFA) is completed, exploring the organization’s own presentation of the complex learning processes that took place when implementing the new policy in 2014.

Findings

The literature on inter-organizational learning has a so far unexplored explanatory potential to understand learning processes that take place in complex, multi-sited organizations. This case demonstrates why and how this potential is relevant to exploit. Five themes are constructed from the analysis; four pointing out how gender mainstreaming is spread throughout the different parts of the organization and one detailing how the learning process has provided the SMFA knowledge exportable to other organizations.

Originality/value

Due to the complexity in large, multi-sited organizations today, this paper argues what is classically understood as solely inter-organizational processes could also apply to a single organization, as the learning processes this engages in, transitions intra- and inter-organizational learning. The study advances current understandings through exploring mechanisms of gender mainstreaming.

Details

The Learning Organization, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-6474

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Book part

Stuart Speeden

Purpose – The purpose of this chapter is to consider “equality mainstreaming” as an international policy and to explore some of the implications this raises for public…

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this chapter is to consider “equality mainstreaming” as an international policy and to explore some of the implications this raises for public management.

Design/Methodology/Approach – The methodology is based on literature review looking at the way gender mainstreaming practices have developed a wider application to equality mainstreaming. Examining the relationship between mainstreaming and evidence-based management, it comments on the challenges this poses for public management.

Findings – Equality mainstreaming and its implications have been largely absent from public management discourse despite the growth of equality mainstreaming in international policy.

Research limitations/Implications – Research in public management should address mainstreaming and its potential for social change.

Practical implications – This chapter brings this issue to the forefront in an effort to engage academics and public managers.

Social implications – This chapter raises theoretical questions about mainstreaming and social change in favor of equality. It is a starting point for further research on public management as a tool for shifting organizational and societal values.

Originality/Value – The chapter provides an overview of previous literature and policy development in this area and then moves on to explore the implications of extending mainstreaming as a concept to other policy areas and examines both challenges and opportunities raised by this approach for the management of values in public services.

Details

Emerging and Potential Trends in Public Management: An Age of Austerity
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-998-2

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Article

Sarah Payne and Laura Bennett

An increasing number of countries have introduced duties for public-sector organisations who, in addition to addressing discrimination, are now also required to promote…

Abstract

Purpose

An increasing number of countries have introduced duties for public-sector organisations who, in addition to addressing discrimination, are now also required to promote equality of opportunity between different groups. The purpose of this paper is to explore the limited progress of gender equality policies, through a study of the local implementation of equalities policies. The authors highlight the role of equalities leads in the public sector as local “agents of change”, and explore explanations of the implementation gap between policy and practice.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reports on a small-scale qualitative study with equalities leads in the health sector in England. The study comprised semi-structured interviews with equalities leads from nine health organisations which were purposively selected to include a mix of areas and populations. The interviews focused on the leads’ backgrounds and their perceptions of barriers to their work.

Findings

The equalities leads had a range of experience prior to their current post, though most had little formal subject-specific training. They highlighted a number of barriers to effective implementation of gender equality strategies, including resource issues, the impact of organisational change, the increased the number of equalities they were expected to address, organisational perceptions that gender was no longer a priority and resistance to what are seen as “tick box” exercises.

Originality/value

The value of this paper is that it adds to the understanding of the challenges facing the implementation of gender equalities policies in the health sector, the reasons for these and the role of local policy implementers in the effectiveness of national equalities policies.

Details

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, vol. 34 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-7149

Keywords

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Article

S.B. Burnett, C.J. Gatrell, C.L. Cooper and P. Sparrow

The paper considers the impact of work‐life balance policies on the work and family practices of professional, dual‐earner parents with dependent children, by assessing…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper considers the impact of work‐life balance policies on the work and family practices of professional, dual‐earner parents with dependent children, by assessing the extent to which “well‐balanced families” have been resultantly facilitated. It poses two research questions: the first centres on how far work‐life balance policies have better enabled working parents to manage their commitments to employers and children, whilst the second focuses on how far parental and employer responses to work‐life balance policies may be gendered. The ultimate aim is to (re)‐articulate the importance of gender in the work‐life balance agenda.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws upon historical and conceptual research on work and family practices. It invokes gender as a lens through which notions of the “well‐balanced family” are considered.

Findings

It is argued that work‐life balance policies have not led to well‐balanced, or “gender‐neutral”, work and family practices. This is for two reasons, both relating to gender. First, the take up of work‐life balance policies is gendered, with more mothers than fathers working flexibly. This is partly because organizational expectations fail to acknowledge social change around the paternal parenting role. Second, work‐life balance policies focus mainly on the issues of paid work and childcare, failing to take account of domestic labour, the main burden of which continues to be carried by mothers.

Practical implications

Deeply ingrained social assumptions about the gendered division of labour within heterosexual couples limit the impact of work‐life balance policies on work family practices.

Originality/value

The paper moves forward the debate on work‐life balance through taking an interdisciplinary approach to an issue which has often been addressed previously from discipline‐specific approaches such as health, psychology or policy.

Details

Gender in Management: An International Journal, vol. 25 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2413

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Article

Elias Andersson, Maria Johansson, Gun Lidestav and Malin Lindberg

In Sweden, gender mainstreaming policies have a long political history. As part of the national gender equality strategy of the Swedish forest industry, the ten largest…

Abstract

Purpose

In Sweden, gender mainstreaming policies have a long political history. As part of the national gender equality strategy of the Swedish forest industry, the ten largest forestry companies committed themselves to gender mainstream their policies. Limiting the impact of policies and the agency of change, the purpose of this paper is to focus on the varied and conflicting meanings and constitution of the concepts, the problem and, in extent, the organisational realities of gender mainstreaming.

Design/methodology/approach

In both, implementation and practice, gender mainstreaming posse challenges on various levels and by analysing these documents as practical texts from the WPR-approach. This paper explores constructions of gender and gender equality and their implications on the practice and the political of gender mainstreaming in a male-dominated primary industry.

Findings

The results show that the organisations themselves were not constituted as the subject of the policy but instead some of the individuals (women). The subject position of women represented in company policy was one of lacking skills and competences and in the need of help. Not only men and the masculine norms but organisational processes and structures were also generally invisible in the material. Power and conflict were mainly absent from the understanding of gender equality. Instead, consenting ideas of gender equality were the focus. Such conceptualisations of gender equality are beneficial for all risk concealing power structures and thereby limit the political space for change.

Originality/value

By highlighting the scale of policy and the significance of organisational contexts, the results indicate how gender and gender equality are constitutive through the governing technologies of neoliberal and market-oriented ideologies in policy – emphasising the further limiting of space for structural change and politicalization within the male-dominated organisations of Swedish forest industry.

Details

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, vol. 37 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-7149

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Book part

Halima-Sa’adia Kassim

This chapter considers the commitment of gender equality at universities and how it is expressed and measured via a gender equality scorecard. The Gender Equality…

Abstract

This chapter considers the commitment of gender equality at universities and how it is expressed and measured via a gender equality scorecard. The Gender Equality Scorecard is seen as an accountability measure that seeks to build awareness of the magnitude of the problem (if it exists), interpret the meaning of the (in)equities, and move to action. It is regarded as a supportive mechanism to the development and implementation of a Gender Policy as articulated in The UWI Strategic Plan, 2012–2017. The development of a Scorecard is also seen as an example of collaborative governance in action that fosters engagement, commitment, and action across an institution. The proposed model draws upon the experiences of the Gender Equity Scorecards used by international development agencies and other higher educational institutions. The chapter proposes a framework and methodology using staff and student data from The University of the West Indies for the period 1990–1991 to 2011–2012 to build a Gender Scorecard. Finally, the Scorecard is seen as a tool to track performance related to the creation and enhancement of relevant structures and processes to institutionalize gender equality into the functions, operations, and governance of institutions.

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Book part

Leah Ruppanner

To investigate the association between country-level differences in childcare enrollment, the presence of affirmative action policy, and female parliamentary…

Abstract

Purpose

To investigate the association between country-level differences in childcare enrollment, the presence of affirmative action policy, and female parliamentary representation and individual-level conflict between work and family.

Methodology/approach

This study applies data from the 2002 International Social Survey Program (n = 14,000 + ) for respondents in 29 countries and pairs them with macro-level measures of childcare enrollment, the presence of affirmative action policy, and female parliamentary representation. I estimate the model using hierarchical linear modeling (HLM 7) and also assess cross-level interactions by gender and parental status.

Findings

The models show that female parliamentary representation has a robust negative association with individual-level reports of work–family and family–work conflict. These associations do not vary by gender or parental status. Also, mothers report less family–work conflict in countries with more expansive childcare enrollment, indicating that this welfare policy benefits the intended group.

Research limitations/implications

This research implies that greater female parliamentary representation has widespread benefits to all citizens’, rather than just women’s or mothers’, work–family and family–work conflict. Additional longitudinal research would benefit this area of study.

Practical implications

This research suggests that increasing female parliamentary representation at the country-level may promote work–life balance at the individual-level. It also indicates that public childcare enrollment benefits women through lower family–work conflict which may encourage continuous maternal labor force participation and reduce economic gender inequality.

Originality/value

This chapter builds on an emerging area of work–family research applying multilevel modeling to draw empirical links between individual work–family experiences and macro-level structural variation.

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Article

Clotilde Coron

This work deals with social representations of gender equality in the workplace. Little academic work deals with the way workers define gender equality. My research also…

Abstract

Purpose

This work deals with social representations of gender equality in the workplace. Little academic work deals with the way workers define gender equality. My research also deals with the implications of this definition in terms of policy implementation.

Design/methodology/approach

This work is based on a mixed-method approach. A quantitative study based on an online survey conducted in 2015 at a French company is mobilized to identify and measure the main representations of gender equality among the workers. Then, a qualitative study is used to explore these representations in depth and to examine how they influence the implementation of policy on gender equality.

Findings

This work shows that for French workers, equal pay and equal access to responsibilities are the most important dimensions of gender equality, while gender diversity and work-life balance seem less important. The representation of gender equality varies according to gender, professional field and managerial status. These variations help to understand the difficulty of implementing such policy.

Practical implications

Managerially, these results would strongly indicate that companies in France, but also in other developed countries, should consider carrying out awareness campaigns aimed at employees in order to promote a common culture and definition of gender equality. Indeed, the coexistence of various representations of gender equality partly explains the insufficient implementation—and thus the poor performance and general effectiveness of gender equality policies, both in theoretical and practical terms. Companies should also consider introducing awareness campaigns that specifically target men, who grant less importance to gender equality than women.

Originality/value

This study deals with social representations of gender equality in France, a subject which has been largely neglected or overlooked in existing fields of gender research. The international literature on gender equality shows that variations in representations of gender equality constitute a major subject for research and policies about gender, whatever the country. However, this topic still remains inadequately addressed. This research aims to strengthen such research literature dedicated to the issue of gender equality.

Details

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, vol. 39 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-7149

Keywords

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