Institutionalised Resistance to Gender Equality Initiatives in Swedish and Portuguese Academia

TítuloInstitutionalised Resistance to Gender Equality Initiatives in Swedish and Portuguese Academia
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsPeterson, H, Carvalho, T, Jordansson, B, Machado-Taylor, Mde Lourdes
Book TitleGender, Power and Higher Education in a Globalised World
EditionP. O'Connor, K. White
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan, Cham

This chapter explores institutionalised resistance to gender equality initiatives reported by 15 gender equality change agents (GECAs) in Swedish and Portuguese Higher Education (HE). Drawing on qualitative interviews with the GECAs, the study highlights similarities within the two national HE contexts, but also contextual nuances and variations. Feminist institutionalism is used as a theoretical framework which facilitates an investigation of how resistance appears embedded in the structures and processes of HE. The analysis develops the conceptual categorisation of institutionalised resistance embedded in three separate types of institutional structures and processes: (1) legitimation, (2) decision making and (3) resource allocation. The GECAs in both contexts identified the decoupling mechanisms behind these structures and processes: formal institutional rules and policies characterised by gender equality, equal opportunity and meritocracy were compromised by informal practices and routines which preserved status quo. The “mirage of equality” was therefore a reoccurring theme in both contexts.


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