Gender and the Public Sector: Professionals and Managerial Change

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

3

Managing transformation?

Health and welfare management in South Africa

Jenny Owen

Introduction

A magazine advert during the early years of the Mandela government in South Africa vividly illustrates the ambiguities and the scale of the transition under way at that time. Published in a business magazine, it featured African National Congress (ANC) militants who had used their experience in Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the ANC, to go into business as security guards for supermarkets and other companies. Long after Nelson Mandela's release from prison in 1992 and election as president in 1994, debate continues about the transformation process in government policies, services and communities. Early excitement about the peaceful transition symbolised by the security guards' advert has been eclipsed by debates about enduring levels of poverty and inequality among black communities. Do current policies reflect concessions to neo-liberalism and to marketisation which negate the radical impetus of the ANC-led government (Bond 2000)? Or has the maintenance of sufficient stability to allow reforms to proceed, however unevenly, been a major achievement in itself (Ncholo 2000)?

Within this broad picture, commitment to public service transformation has been at the heart of South African government policy since 1994, which is focused on reducing inequalities both in public sector employment patterns and in service delivery and on creating accountable, transparent systems. Reducing gender inequality in employment and in access to services has been a specific aim, with targets and monitoring processes developed accordingly; acknowledging and tackling the high rates of rape and domestic violence have also become priorities. Western governments and donor agencies have become prominent players, through initiatives in policy development, management consultancy, staff training, twinning and other schemes (Bevan 2000; Bond 2000). This period has also seen an important transition in approaches to public sector management from UK government agencies such as the Department for International Development. The Conservative government language of internal markets and customer relations of the early 1990s has been eclipsed, since 1997, by a New Labour emphasis on stakeholders, citizens and partnerships.

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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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