International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration - Vol. 2

By Jay M. Shafritz | Go to book overview

Zealand participates in the regular intergovernmental meetings of Australian women's advisers as well as working with Australia and Canada on status-of-women initiatives at the UN.



Branch for the Advancement of the Status of Women (BAW), 1987. The Development of National Machinery for the Advancement of Women and Their Characteristics in 1985. Vienna: UN.

Curtin, Jennifer, and Marian Sawer, 1995. "Gender Equity and the Shrinking State: Women and the Great Experiment". In Francis G. Castles et al., eds. The Great Experiment: Labour Parties and Public Policy Transformations in Australia and New Zealand. Sydney: Allen and Unwin.

Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), 1989. Information on the Preliminary Results of the Review and Appraisal of the Implementation of the Nairobi Forward-Looking Strategies. Vienna: UN.

Eisenstein, Hester, 1995. Inside Agitators: Australian Femocrats and the State. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Findlay, Sue, and Melanie Randall, eds., 1988. Feminist Perspectives on the Canadian State. Toronto: RFR/ RDF.

Sawer, Marian, and Abigail Groves, 1994. Working from Inside: Twenty Years of the Office of the Status of Women. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service.

Stetson, Dorothy M., and Amy Mazur, eds., 1995. Comparative State Feminism. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

GENDERED ORGANIZATION . The argument that organizational structures, processes, symbols, and cultures are not gender neutral; instead, gender is deeply embedded in conceptualizations of organizational phenomenon (e.g., leadership) as well as substantive organizational practices (from interpersonal interaction and dress codes to division of labor and job evaluation).

The argument that organization is "gendered" is one result of an evolution in feminist theorizing that has affected not only organization theory (cf. Acker 1990) but also history (cf. Scott 1986), political philosophy (cf. Okin 1979), psychology (cf. Gilligan 1982), and public policy analysis (cf. Sapiro 1986). As Sandra Harding has documented ( 1993), feminist scholarship has moved from efforts to correct "biases against women" to projects designed to make women's experiences visible and, finally, to analyses that question and try to reformulate the fundamental theories and concepts of the existing knowledge base.

What this most recent feminist research has shown is that supposedly "neutral" or "universal" categories or theories are actually "male" in a variety of ways. First and most obvious, because of unequal access to education, the knowledge base has been constructed largely by men. Second, as often as not, women and "women's topics" have not been the subject of study. For example, until the 1970s, much psychological research was conducted predominantly with male subjects ( Frieze et al., 1991, p. 375). Third and most important, in their thinking about the world, researchers and scholars have taken male bodies and experiences as the standard, with the consequence that women are either ignored or defined as substandard, as "a problem" as in the question "What do women want?" Taken together, the effect is what Sandra Bem ( 1993) has termed "androcentrism," a male-centered view of the world.

Challenges to androcentric knowledge have occurred across the disciplines. Within political philosophy Susan Okin ( 1979) has shown the ways in which the public-private dichotomy underlying liberal political theory depends on a gendered division of labor. Zillah Eisenstein ( 1988) has demonstrated the gendered nature of the law, arguing, for example, that the conception of self-defense enshrined in common law assumes episodic violence between two men, thereby excluding battered women's experiences. Virginia Sapiro ( 1986) has argued that the standard version of American social policy is told in gender-neutral terms, masking the thoroughly gendered history of social policies that promoted independence for men and dependence for women.

What these examples show is that feminist scholarship has moved beyond the conception of gender as just one more variable for examination ("add women and stir") to an ontological commitment to gender as an analytical category. As an analytical category gender is multifaceted, encompassing not only physical bodies but also psychological identities, interaction patterns among and between men and women, and the ways in which conceptual foundations are constituted through the absence (or particular portrayals) of women. The argument is that "all of social life is gendered, reflecting the differences between and among women and men in activities undertaken, opportunities available, outcomes experienced, and values held and assigned to them" ( Nelson 1989, p. 4). As important, to focus simply on the physical sex of individuals misleads more than it enlightens, neglecting differences among women (and among men) as well as the dynamic ways in which cultural and institutional factors construct and are constructed by gender.

Organization theory is ripe for this richer gender analysis. First, it is clear that most organization theory has been written by men, studying the men who occupy (especially the highest) organizational positions. Second, male scholars' neglect of women and gender has been persistent. Though it is perhaps not surprising that men trained in the Weberian and Tayloresque traditions neglected gender, this neglect was replicated with each new intellectual approach: Organizational psychologists whose focus was on the individual had little to say about workers' gender; the literature on workplace democracy failed to analyze the inequality of women; and even in intellectual approaches that are antiorganizational and antipositivist, women were still neglected as subjects. For example, Jeff Hearn and P. Wendy


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