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Public Servants as Agents for Change in Gender Mainstreaming: The Complexity of Practice
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, The Department of Gender Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2012 (English)In: Promoting Innovation: Policies, practices and procedures / [ed] Susanne Andersson, Karin Berglund, Ewa Gunnarsson and Elisabeth Sundin, Stockholm: Vinnova , 2012, 239-269 p.Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This chapter describes and discusses actions taken to integrate a gender perspective (gender mainstreaming) within the Swedish government agency of VINNOVA. Despite the popularity of gender mainstreaming, its rapid spread and adoption both in Sweden and internationally, it is a largely contested concept. Theorists on gender mainstreaming suggest that the strategy may lead to co-optation with the dominant discourse in an organisation and thus no transformation of the current agenda taking place. Others have argued that it provides a possibility to change by addressing root causes. Previous studies of the implementation of the gender mainstreaming strategy have often been built on analyses on a theoretical or policy level. This chapter takes a different approach by examining the micro-practices developed by actors in public organisations when implementing gender mainstreaming strategies. This is done by examining the roles of both actors and agency. The chapter is based on the results of a case study of the work at VINNOVA; these results are initially described in the article based on the actors’ own accounts of their work. The intriguing “story” of developments in the organisation is followed by a discussion of the micro-practices and strategies in use, based on notions of tempered radicalism (Meyerson and Scully 1995, Meyerson, 2001ab) and small-wins strategies (Weick 1984). The questions of cooptation and subversiveness are problematised through an examination of different strategies of resistance and negotiation (Swan and Fox 2010) used in and around the work. In this context, notions of actors and agency are seen as interlinked, bringing together political intervention and professional and personal positioning (Parsons and Priola 2012) in the practical equality work.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Vinnova , 2012. 239-269 p.
, VINNOVA rapport, ISSN 1650-3104 ; 2012:08
Keyword [en]
gender mainstreaming, implementation, organisational change and learning, change agents
National Category
Gender Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-105202ISBN: 978-91-86517-71-7OAI: diva2:704569
Vinnova, 2009-02191
Available from: 2014-03-12 Created: 2014-03-12 Last updated: 2014-03-24Bibliographically 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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