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Constituting gender and gender equality through policy: the political of gender mainstreaming in the Swedish forest industry
SLU.
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Human and technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8227-8633
SLU.
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Human and technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4501-2542
2018 (English)In: Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, ISSN 2040-7149, E-ISSN 2040-7157, Vol. 37, no 8, p. 763-779Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2018. Vol. 37, no 8, p. 763-779
Keywords [en]
Governance, Politics, Policy, Forestry, Male-dominated organizations, Subjectification
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Industrial Design
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-71164DOI: 10.1108/EDI-10-2017-0208ISI: 000449153800002Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85047499492OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-71164DiVA, id: diva2:1254711
Note

Validerad;2018;Nivå 2;2018-11-06 (johcin) 

Available from: 2018-10-10 Created: 2018-10-10 Last updated: 2020-04-01Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Business as Usual?: Doing gender equality in Swedish forestry work organisations
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Business as Usual?: Doing gender equality in Swedish forestry work organisations
2020 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The title of this thesis is Business as usual? Doing gender equality in Swedish forestry work organizations and while the latter part, the subtitle, is rather self-explanatory, the former part can be read in different ways. The aim of the thesis is to increase the understanding of the doing of gender equality in the male dominated work organizations of the Swedish forestry sector, and thereby contribute both theoretical and empirical understanding regarding how doing gender equality in the forestry sector relates both to notions of gender and notions of organizations. Forestry has traditionally been characterized by physically demanding, manual harvesting work, with practical and symbolic associations with men and certain forms of masculinity. The forestry sector still remains one of the most gender segregated labour forces in Sweden, all while gender equality has been addressed to some extent during the 2000s. The theoretical frame of reference of the present thesis is rooted in feminist organizational research and the doing gender framework. Based on a perspective of reality as socially constructed and by deploying a feminist participatory action research methodology, my analysis focuses on how complexities of meanings are ascribed to the actions and processes, that are framed as gender equality and I have qualitatively analysed empirical material, such as policy documents, interviews and written testimonies of sexual harassment, that explicate these aspects of doing gender equality in organizations. The thesis is built experiences from two different research- and development projects and consists of 5 articles and a synthetizing chapter.

The results highlight how doing gender equality relates to notions of gender as well as notions of organization. In both Article I, where policies were studied and in Article II, that builds on interviews, women are in general constructed as the “other”, as people who lack (forestry) skills and competences and who are in need of help or as contributors of social and emotional competence. Men and masculine norms are mainly absent from the doing of gender equality in this material, just as notions of the organization. But, deploying a feminist participatory action research methodology can bring forward other perspectives on gender equality, as shown in Articles IV and V, such as the articulations of men and masculinities. Further, this thesis shows that gender equality is in general understood by the organizations studied as a process that regards gender, predominantly women, rather than the organization. Put differently, gender equality work in the forestry sector does not to any significant extent, affect what is perceived as the core activities in these organizations. However, the overarching depoliticized and degendered business case framing that mainly evades accounting for the role of the organization when doing gender equality, is disrupted by the testimonies of #slutavverkat explored in Article III. Here, the political dimension of gender equality is highlighted by stories of men’s behaviours (reprehended but at the same time sanctioned) in organizations that come at the expense of women’s rights to a workplace free from condescending comments, harassment and sexual violence. While previous research has pointed to the importance of gender awareness, and gender aware leadership, in organizations that wish to succeed with their gender equality work, this thesis suggests that there is also a need for “gendered organization awareness” in order to understand and discuss not only how gender is done in organizations but also how everyday organizational life, such as notions of competence, is done and how that in turn relates to gender and power. This underlines the need for organizations to make room for conflicts and politics and to let the otherwise marginalized voices contribute to more nuanced interpretations of gender equality.

The title Business as usual? encompasses the starting points for the thesis work as well as the main findings. Read with an emphasis on business, the seemingly all-embracing business case rhetoric’s that encloses the official narratives of gender equality in the forestry sector are visualized, while emphasizing as usual denotes to the sectors resistance to do other than what it usually does. Read as the hole saying, business as usual, that title signals that gender equality work is done in ways that not interfere with forestry core activities, thus making gender equality work in the organizations side streamed or de-coupled. Yet, read with emphasis on the question mark, opens up for the subversive potential that nevertheless exists when more multifaceted ways of making sense of gender equality are articulated and as the findings suggests that there are ways to re-gender and re-politicize organizational gender equality work in the context of forestry work organizations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå: Luleå University of Technology, 2020
Series
Doctoral thesis / Luleå University of Technology 1 jan 1997 → …, ISSN 1402-1544
Keywords
Feminist action research, Forestry, Gender, Gender equality, Organization, Male dominated industries
National Category
Social Sciences Other Social Sciences Gender Studies Work Sciences Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Gender and Technology; Industrial Design
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-78283 (URN)978-91-7790-567-7 (ISBN)978-91-7790-568-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2020-06-05, A109, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2020-04-01 Created: 2020-04-01 Last updated: 2020-05-20Bibliographically approved

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