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Maneuvering within postfeminism: A study of gender equality practitioners in Danish academia

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  • Ea Høg Utoft

In Denmark, gender equality in academia has seen limited progress during the past 30 years. To improve our understanding of this persistent problem, this article examines gender equality practitioners in relation to the wider discursive context of Danish society. Theorizing Denmark as a “postfeminist gender regime,” I analyze how practitioners negotiate a space for action in a context which generally opposes gender equality initiatives. I introduce the notion of “maneuvering” as a way to understand this negotiation between hegemonic, postfeminist discourses, on the one hand, and marginal and potentially subversive discourses on the other. Practitioners may maneuver in how they understand inequality and potential solutions, and in the meetings between them, their work and the postfeminist gender regime. Successful maneuvering enables the use of more radical change strategies than postfeminism otherwise allows. Practitioners' ability to maneuver rests on their critical reflexivity, which in turn is conditioned by their knowledge of gender and power dynamics. The study thus points to the centrality of selecting highly qualified individuals as gender equality practitioners.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGender, Work and Organization
Pages (from-to)301-317
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

    Research areas

  • academia, choice, gender equality work, gender essentialism, maneuvering, postfeminism, SUBJECTIVITY, MANAGEMENT, POLITICS, ORGANIZATION, CHOICE, WOMEN, MERIT, WORK, FEMINISM

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