Gender and the Public Sector: Professionals and Managerial Change

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

1

New Labour, governance and the politics of diversity

Janet Newman

Debates about gender and management have typically been concerned with the organisational domain. The literature has highlighted the organisational practices that reproduce unequal representations of women and men in management posts; the ways in which cultural norms and values constrain opportunities for women; and the gendered knowledges and practices of managerialism. In terms of the public sector this is, however, only part of the story. The gendering of organisational life in public services is inextricably tied to the way in which the public realm is constituted as a gendered and racialised domain.

'Governance' provides one set of theories through which the public realm can be understood. Governance in its broadest sense denotes issues concerning the changing role and powers of the state; the relationships between the public, private and voluntary sector in emerging patterns of service delivery; and expectations about the role of citizens, communities, families and house-holds. In this chapter I use the term governance to embrace such state-society interactions and to open up debates about issues of diversity in the public realm. 1 I deliberately focus on issues of diversity rather than gender alone because of the problem of isolating gender from other forms of social identity and other lines of social division. However, my analysis has been shaped both by drawing on the experience of women working in public services in the UK and by feminist forms of analysis and praxis.

Governance can be viewed as a gendered and racialised domain at a number of different levels of analysis. The most straightforward is the question of 'who governs'? - the representation of different groups in the council chamber, in parliament and government. This has long been an issue of major concern to those concerned with equality agendas, who have repeatedly pointed to the under-representation of women and of black and ethnic minorities in government and local government. More recent concerns have been expressed about the constitution of the new quangocracy - the boards of public bodies that govern key institutions set up at arms length from the state itself, from school governing bodies to health trusts. While this chapter touches on such issues, they are not a major concern. I focus rather on key dimensions of emerging patterns of governance, especially those that characterise the policies and

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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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