Gender and the Public Sector: Professionals and Managerial Change

By Jim Barry; Mike Dent et al. | Go to book overview

2

Gendered states, critical engagements

Trudie Honour, Jim Barry and Sneha Palnitkar

Introductory comments: contexts and issues

This chapter considers the role of gender in urban governance and reports findings from a research investigation into the 30 per cent seat reservation or quota system for women politicians operating in India in the city of Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay). Some comparison with London, which also has around 30 per cent female local politicians, a figure high by international standards, is made through examination of previously published research. The context in which the research is taking place is important for a number of reasons. To begin with concerns have been expressed worldwide in recent years about establishing what has been called good governance in the face of pressure for market reforms and fears of corruption or clientelism. At the same time interest has grown in the role of gender and the under-representation of women in positions of responsibility and decision making, with calls for empowerment heard worldwide. The experience of the recently empowered women in Mumbai and the degree to which critical acts and a critical mass can make a difference to welfare and social policy is explored. It is contended that women in Mumbai, as in London, are generally held in high regard and are seen as highly competent and fair and flexible in their dealings with others, focusing their energies on the needs of the most disadvantaged and socially excluded in the community. The women in Mumbai are also far less involved in questionable practices than men. It is further argued that women's increasing presence is bringing enhanced levels of respectability to local governance.

In line with the work of authors such as Wilson (1977) and McIntosh (1978), who drew attention to the disadvantaged position of women in respect of social policy and welfare, a number of texts have turned their attention in recent years to the gendered character of the state and state provision (Johnson 1999:43; Watson and Doyal 1999:1). There has also been acknowledgement in the literature of a number of perspectives on gender (for example Williams 1989) and a recognition that inequality is manifested in and through the state in a multitude of ways (Pringle and Watson 1992). Yet despite differences of emphasis, underscored by approaches that favour varieties of postmodernism and raise problems over the essentialism of gender (Hallett 1996:9-11; Lister

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Gender and the Public Sector: Professionals and Managerial Change
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgements xvi
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I - Contexts and Networks 13
  • 1 - New Labour, Governance and the Politics of Diversity 15
  • Notes 25
  • 2 - Gendered States, Critical Engagements 27
  • 3 - Managing Transformation? 44
  • 4 - Gender, Welfare Regimes and the Medical Profession in France and Greece 65
  • Notes 80
  • Part II - Managing Professional Work 83
  • 5 - Identifying the Professional 'Man'Ager 85
  • 6 - Women's Positioning in a Bureaucratic Environment 104
  • 7 - Plural Frames of Work in Public Sector Organisations 120
  • Note 133
  • 8 - On the Front Line 136
  • 9 - Hard Nosed or Pink and Fluffy? 154
  • References 168
  • 10 - Ministering Angels and the Virtuous Profession 170
  • References 184
  • Part III - Identity and Biography 187
  • 11 - Gendered Narratives of the Management of Residential Care Homes 189
  • 12 - The Problematic Professional 205
  • References 216
  • Index 218
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