Theorising gender desegregation as political work: The case of the Welsh Labour Party

Smolović Jones, Owain; Smolović Jones, Sanela; Taylor, Scott and Yarrow, Emily (2021). Theorising gender desegregation as political work: The case of the Welsh Labour Party. Gender, Work and Organization (Early access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/gwao.12445

Abstract

Organization studies offers a detailed understanding of the roots of gender segregation and the obstacles to its dismantling in practice but has not proposed a conceptual framework that can help us understand how radical forms of desegregation may be made sense of and approached, particularly within a hotly contested organizational context. We provide an empirical analysis of the UK’s only positive discrimination intervention, in the British Labour Party, and offer a conceptual framework of desegregation as political work, contributing by expanding knowledge of the contestations and possibilities inherent in desegregating organizations. We argue that successful radical desegregation is based on disrupting and contesting the foundational ontological values and identifications of a profession or organization, as gender is intimately enmeshed in these. From this basis we propose two political practices of desegregation: ‘standing up’ and ‘walking with’.

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