Sisyphus' Sisters: Can Gender Mainstreaming Escape the Genderedness of Organizations?

Citation:

Benschop, Yvonne, and Mieke Verloo. 2006. “Sisyphus’ Sisters: Can Gender Mainstreaming Escape the Genderedness of Organizations?” Journal of Gender Studies 15 (1): 19-33.

Authors: Yvonne Benschop, Mieke Verloo

Abstract:

Currently, gender mainstreaming is presented as bringing new élan to gender equality policies. Gender mainstreaming is a gender equality strategy that aims to transform organizational processes and practices by eliminating gender biases in existing routines, involving the regular actors in this transformation process. In this article, we question the aspirations of gender mainstreaming. Can gender mainstreaming escape the genderedness of organizations; can it genuinely effect change, or does it inevitably become compromised? Our analysis of a case project within Human Resource Management in the Ministry of the Flemish Community in Belgium shows that gender mainstreaming does indeed bring about changes, but that it does not break down the genderedness of organizations substantially. While gender mainstreaming invokes an image of cooperation between equal parties that pursue a dual agenda of business needs and feminist goals, our analysis shows that crucial power differences between those parties determine the outcome. The complex social dynamics of gender mainstreaming entail compromises in the context of these power differences, which seriously hinder the transformative and innovative potential of gender mainstreaming. 

Keywords: gender mainstreaming, equality policy, personnel management, participatory research, Belgium

Topics: Gender, Gender Mainstreaming, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality Regions: Europe, Western Europe Countries: Belgium

Year: 2006

© 2019 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at info@genderandsecurity.org.