chapter  22
13 Pages

Is becoming-woman possible in organizations?

WithAlison Pullen, Carl Rhodes

Since Acker’s seminal paper was published in 1990 the notion of the gendered organization has become centrally influential in locating gender within organizations and understanding how organizations inculcate and perpetuate inequality and oppression (Britton, 2000; Martin and Collinson, 2002; Mumby and Ashcraft, 2006), and therefore social injustice. For Acker, “to say that an organization . . . is gendered means that advantage and disadvantage, exploitation and control, action and emotion, meaning and identity, are patterned through and in terms of a distinction between male and female, masculine and feminine” (p. 146). This distinction is far from politically neutral with feminist approaches to work and organizations arguing that this gendering privileges masculinity and reproduces gender inequality; a critique that ultimately seeks redress whereby mechanisms are created to “build less oppressively gendered organizations” (Britton, 2000: 431).