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

Owain Smolović Jones, Sanela Smolović Jones, Scott Taylor, Emily Yarrow

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    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’.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalGender, Work and Organization
    Early online date21 Mar 2020
    Publication statusEarly online - 21 Mar 2020


    • gender segregation
    • gender desegregation
    • positive discrimination
    • quotas
    • Chantal Mouffe


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