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Gender Diversity and the City: Softly, Softly Feminism among London's Business Leaders
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Anthropology.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

In 2011, advisors to the British government recommended against introducing a quota for women to corporate boards in the UK. The advisors instead set an aim for the UK’s 100 largest companies. They recommended company leaders take action to increase female representation on boards from just over 12 per cent in 2011, to a minimum of 25 per cent by 2015. The threat of government intervention remains. The EU Council is currently discussing the European Commission’s proposal for a minimum of 40 per cent of each sex amongst non-executive directors by 2020 across all EU member states. Using material from ten weeks of fieldwork in the City of London, I examine how a loose network of business leaders, lobbyists, journalists and researchers are shaping ideas about gender and business. This network intends to show that a quota is not needed to increase the numbers of women in business leadership. I relate my discussion to ideas of markets and marketing, and to ideas of gender differences and gender equality. I first analyse the ideas set out in the business case for gender diversity and in the term gender balance. I then explore how London’s business leaders enhance personal, employer and corporate brands by publicly demonstrating their commitment to gender balance. Through this commitment, leaders also prove themselves members of the collaboration that unites against a quota. I focus particularly on how senior businesswomen are expected to be role models for other women. I show how role models urge other women to ensure they remain recognisably feminine.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
gender diversity, policy, market feminism, interpellation, networks, branding
National Category
Social Anthropology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-104899OAI: diva2:727399
Available from: 2014-08-14 Created: 2014-06-20 Last updated: 2014-08-14Bibliographically approved

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