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The Contradictory Work with Gender Mainstreaming
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, The Department of Gender Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
SCORE, Stockholms universitet.
2011 (English)In: Tidskrift för Genusvetenskap, ISSN 1654-5443, no 2-3, 81-96 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article discusses how the actors involved with integrating a gender perspective into mainstream organizational processes have to deal with many difficult-to-solve questions or dilemmas in their everyday work. The strategies used to implement gender mainstreaming rests on various and often contradictory understandings of gender, gender equality and change strategies. The article draws on two case studies in public organizations working with gender mainstreaming where qualitative interviews and reflection- and analysis- and reflection seminars have been conducted with actors involved in the project. The main aim of the article is to discuss an interactive research approach as a way to reflect on various understandings and underlying assumptions that different change strategies are based on. Theoretically the paper uses Michael Billig’s concept of ideological dilemmas as well as theories on gender equality, organizational change and interactive research. A central argument is that contradictions can be problematic if they are ignored but fruitful if used as a starting point for discussions about how future change strategies can be formed. Julia Nentwich’s notion of “playing around” is discussed as a way to reflect and develop strategies based on the specific dilemmas found in the cases studies. Different phases in the interactive approach is described and discussed; the problem orientation phase, the examination phase and the analysis- and reflection phase.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Tema genus, Linköpings universitet , 2011. no 2-3, 81-96 p.
Keyword [en]
gender mainstreaming, ideological dilemmas, interactive research, public administration, organizational change
Keyword [sv]
genus, jämställdhetsintegrering, interaktiv forskning, ideologiska dilemman, offentliga organisationer, förvaltning
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-105200OAI: diva2:704560

This article is an English translation of article first published in Tidskrift för genusvetenskap (TGV). No. 2-3:79-96, 2011.

Available from: 2014-03-12 Created: 2014-03-12 Last updated: 2014-03-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Making equality work: Ambiguities, conflicts and change agents in the implementation of equality policies in public sector organisations
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Making equality work: Ambiguities, conflicts and change agents in the implementation of equality policies in public sector organisations
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overall aim of this study is to contribute to knowledge about the implementation of equality policies in public sector organisations. This is achieved through the development of a theoretical framework of feminist implementation studies. It involves the study of influential factors that impact upon the implementation process, with the aim of contributing to an understanding of the outcome of implementation processes within the equality policy field. The methodology used is based on qualitative case study research combined with a meta-analysis that allows for comparisons across cases. Four initiatives in the implementation of gender mainstreaming strategy were studied in different contexts, namely, two local municipalities and one government agency in Sweden. The main questions asked are: How was gender mainstreaming implemented? What were the main factors influencing the implementation process and why? What was the impact of change actors working to implement gender mainstreaming? The case studies were conducted using an interactive research approach where the different dilemmas encountered by the gender mainstreaming practitioners are used as a starting point for developing a joint learning process. The thesis comprises an introduction and five published papers. The main findings of the study include how the implementation process developed over time and the impact of the micropractices of the “gender mainstreamers” involved. The study provides insights into the factors influencing the implementation process, and how these factors change over time. Different types and levels of conflict, together and interlinked with different ambiguities, affect the practical work where dilemmas inherent in the concepts of “gender”, “equality” and “change” become central. Overall, the study shows how the specific preconditions for implementation of gender mainstreaming make the local arenas of implementation crucial for understanding the outcomes.

Abstract [sv]

Syftet med avhandlingen är att bidra till kunskapen om implementeringen av jämlikhetsstrategier i offentliga organisationer. Detta görs genom utvecklingen av ett teoretiskt ramverk för implementeringsstudier med ett feministiskt perspektiv. För att bidra till en ökad förståelse av de resultat som nås inom jämlikhetspolitiken studeras faktorer som påverkar implementeringsprocessen. Studien är baserad på kvalitativa fallstudier och en meta-analys som möjliggör jämförelser mellan fallstudierna. Fyra olika fall av implementering av jämställdhetsintegreringsstrategin har studerats utifrån olika kontexter; i två svenska kommuner och en statlig myndighet. Avhandlingens huvudsakliga frågeställningar är: Hur implementerades jämställdhetsintegreringsstrategin? Vilka var de huvudsakliga faktorer som påverkade implementeringsprocessen och varför? Hur påverkades processen av de förändringsaktörer som arbetade med att implementera strategin? Fallstudierna har genomförts med en interaktiv forskningsansats i vilken olika dilemman i det praktiska arbetet har använts som utgångspunkt för en gemensam lärandeprocess med de som arbetat med implementeringen av strategin. Avhandlingen är en sammanläggningsavhandling och består av en introduktion och fem publicerade paper. Avhandlingens huvudsakliga resultat inkluderar hur implementeringsprocessen utvecklades över tid och den påverkan som "jämställdhetsintegrerarnas" mikropraktik haft på implementeringen. Avhandlingen visar vilka faktorer som påverkar  implementeringsprocessen samt att dessa varierar över tid. Olika slags konflikter påverkar tillsammans och sammanvävt med jämställdhetsstrategiers mångtydighet det praktiska arbetet i vilket dilemman rörande betydelsen av "kön", "jämlikhet/jämställdhet" och "förändring" blir centrala. Sammantaget visar avhandlingen hur de specifika förutsättningarna för implementering av  jämställdhetsintegreringsstrategin gör det lokala implementeringsarbetet avgörande för att förstå resultaten.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2014. 305 p.
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 607
Change agents, equality, gender, gender mainstreaming, organisation, policy implementation, Förändringsaktörer, genus, jämställdhetsintegrering, jämlikhet, implementering av politiska strategier, organisation
National Category
Gender Studies Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-105207 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-105207 (DOI)978-91-7519-401-1 (print) (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-03-28, TEMCAS, TEMA-huset, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:00 (Swedish)

The articles in this Ph.D. thesis are published in full text with kind permisson from Studentlitteratur (article I, II and V), TGV (article II) and VINNOVA (article IV).

Available from: 2014-03-13 Created: 2014-03-13 Last updated: 2014-03-14Bibliographically approved

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