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The Question of Feminism in Gender Mainstreaming: A Case of Non-conflict in Local Politics
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences. Center for Feminist Studies (CFS); Örebro Research School of Public Affairs (FOVU).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2539-2747
2015 (English)In: NORA: Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research, ISSN 0803-8740, E-ISSN 1502-394X, Vol. 23, no 3, p. 203-219Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article discusses gender equality and how and why a gender mainstreaming strategy avoids the question of gender conflict. The making of gender-equality work is studied by investigating how feminism is talked about and rejected in a specific gender mainstreaming project in the municipality of Örebro, Sweden. Drawing upon the theoretical concepts of hegemony and discourse, the focus is on the silences—the unspoken questions and problems—surrounding the project. I examine how the exclusion of feminism and conflict is articulated when gender mainstreaming is introduced as a new way of doing gender-equality work in the municipality. The struggles identified show that feminism is rejected because it is seen as being in opposition to (1) professionalism and (2) legitimate political issues. I conclude that within the local discourse of gender mainstreaming there is a notion that this form of gender-equality work ought to be performed without harmful or threatening gender conflicts. This means that the strategy of gender mainstreaming constitutes a short-cut to bypass controversial problems like equal treatment, special efforts for women, and men's privileges in gender-equality work.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2015. Vol. 23, no 3, p. 203-219
Keywords [en]
gender mainstreaming
National Category
Political Science Gender Studies
Research subject
Political Science; Gender Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-46762DOI: 10.1080/08038740.2015.1066443ISI: 000359906300005Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84938788637OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-46762DiVA, id: diva2:873688
Available from: 2015-11-24 Created: 2015-11-24 Last updated: 2018-03-20Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Gender mainstreaming as feminist politics: A critical analysis of the pursuit of gender equality in Swedish local government
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Gender mainstreaming as feminist politics: A critical analysis of the pursuit of gender equality in Swedish local government
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Gender mainstreaming is often described as a strategy to increase gender equality in states and other institutions and/or to make them more gender aware. It should however be considered a contested concept, and the aim of this thesis is to produce a critical perspective and empirical knowledge about whether, and if so how, gender mainstreaming contributes to a more (gender) equal society. The production of gender mainstreaming as gender equality policy is investigated, using both feminist new institutionalism and discourse theory.

The study investigates whether, and if so how, gender mainstreaming is facilitating new public management by transforming the ambitions of feminist politics into a neoliberal strategy adapted for public administration.

The case examined in this study is a local government gender mainstreaming project conducted in a municipality in Sweden. The case also includes vertical and horizontal outlooks and is categorized as a critical case. To study "what is not there" in the empirical material, the concepts of silences and silencing are used as both theoretical and methodological tools.

The thesis shows that gender mainstreaming produces a gender equality policy that is disconnected from political parties, and that gender mainstreaming becomes a common good. This, I argue, produces a non-political politics, which includes a governing technique that privileges political consensus, articulated in terms of non-conflict and win-win.

The thesis identifies a conflation between gender mainstreaming, as a strategy, with the policy objective of gender equality. Gender mainstreaming did not create space for addressing gender-based violence, or include the voice of the women’s movement, from which it can be concluded that gender mainstreaming does not contribute to feminist politics. This could have societal consequences and can influence, or even hinder, actual political change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro University, 2018. p. 118
Series
Örebro Studies in Political Science, ISSN 1650-1632 ; 41
Keywords
Gender mainstreaming, gender equality, feminist politics, public administration, feminist political theory, local government, discourse, feminist new institutionalism
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-65313 (URN)978-91-7529-235-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-04-13, Örebro universitet, Prismahuset, Hörsal P 1, Fakultetsgatan 1, Örebro, 13:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-02-28 Created: 2018-02-28 Last updated: 2018-03-20Bibliographically approved

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Andersson, Renée

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