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Gender mainstreaming as feminist politics: A critical analysis of the pursuit of gender equality in Swedish local government
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2539-2747
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 [en]
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: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-65313ISBN: 978-91-7529-235-9 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-65313DiVA, id: diva2:1186325
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
List of papers
1. The myth of Sweden’s success: A deconstructive reading of the discourses in gender mainstreaming texts
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The myth of Sweden’s success: A deconstructive reading of the discourses in gender mainstreaming texts
2018 (English)In: The European Journal of Women's Studies, ISSN 1350-5068, E-ISSN 1461-7420, Vol. 25, no 4, p. 455-469Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article investigates discourses of Sweden's success in gender mainstreaming. Using the theoretical concept of myth, discourse analysis is performed on different categories of texts (including academic texts, grey papers and official reports). The aim is to analyse how this discourse of success is constructed and to increase the understanding of its components. The themes identified in the reading include adaptation, integration, volume and initiatives. In conclusion, it is argued that a conflation of gender mainstreaming (viewed as a strategy) with gender equality (as a policy objective) has been a vital part of the construction of Sweden as the best case of gender mainstreaming.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2018
Keywords
Discourse, gender equality, gender mainstreaming, myth, Sweden
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies) Gender Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-65904 (URN)10.1177/1350506817743531 (DOI)000447562100005 ()2-s2.0-85055159833 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2018-03-20 Created: 2018-03-20 Last updated: 2018-11-01Bibliographically approved
2. Learning from Gender Mainstreaming Education: Limitations of Education as a Policy Objective
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Learning from Gender Mainstreaming Education: Limitations of Education as a Policy Objective
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Keywords
Gender mainstreaming, governmentality, public administration
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-65905 (URN)
Available from: 2018-03-20 Created: 2018-03-20 Last updated: 2018-03-20Bibliographically approved
3. The Question of Feminism in Gender Mainstreaming: A Case of Non-conflict in Local Politics
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Question of Feminism in Gender Mainstreaming: A Case of Non-conflict in Local Politics
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
Keywords
gender mainstreaming
National Category
Political Science Gender Studies
Research subject
Political Science; Gender Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-46762 (URN)10.1080/08038740.2015.1066443 (DOI)000359906300005 ()2-s2.0-84938788637 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2015-11-24 Created: 2015-11-24 Last updated: 2018-03-20Bibliographically approved
4. Att göra kön i kommunal politik: lokala variationer av gender mainstreaming och kvinnofrid
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Att göra kön i kommunal politik: lokala variationer av gender mainstreaming och kvinnofrid
2014 (Swedish)In: Tidskrift för Genusvetenskap, ISSN 1654-5443, E-ISSN 2001-1377, Vol. 35, no 2-3, p. 55-80Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2014
National Category
Gender Studies
Research subject
Gender Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-38523 (URN)
Available from: 2014-11-11 Created: 2014-11-11 Last updated: 2018-03-20Bibliographically approved

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Andersson, Renée

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