Gender fatigue - The ideological dilemma of gender discrimination in organisations

Kelan, E (2007) Gender fatigue - The ideological dilemma of gender discrimination in organisations. Working Paper. London Business School Lehman Brothers Centre for Women in Business.


The recent emphasis on approaches towards gender diversity in organisations could trigger the view that gender equality is achieved and the topic is thus passé. This moment is referred to in this article as ‘gender fatigue’. At the same time there is evidence that gender discrimination is still a feature of today’s organisations and therefore a relevant topic for organisational studies. In this article it is argued that the positions of gender fatigue and the sustained relevance of gender pose ideological dilemmas for organisational members. An ideological dilemma refers to how individuals navigate between different reality constructions. This is explored through how information communication technology workers make sense of gender discrimination. Instead of just denying gender discrimination, workers used a complex pattern through which gender discrimination was disavowed. ICT workers commonly accept that gender discrimination can happen but they deny that it is a domit feature of their working life. Gender discrimination is presented as a single event that happened in the past and which could not happen again. Gender discrimination was also constructed as something that individual women have to overcome. Thereby the onus is on women to make gender discrimination invisible. Gender discrimination is then individualistic and not a systemic pattern in organisations. The article thus provides insight into how the ideological dilemma of gender discrimination is dealt with in a climate of gender fatigue in organisations.

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Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Subject Areas: Organisational Behaviour
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2023 15:23
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2023 15:30

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