The effects and limits of corporate gender equality standards : A feminist post-structuralist perspective
Abstract: Based on my research aim of covering a gap in the literature on corporate gender equality standards, I research the effects and limits of corporate gender equality standards through a feminist poststructuralist perspective using the case study of the EDGE standard. Based on a qualitative research design, I build an analytical framework on Carol Bacchi’s ‘What’s the Problem Represented to be’ (WPR) approach to analyze the material in form of the five assessment areas of the EDGE standard. Based on the feminist post-structuralist perspective, my analysis showcases that the EDGE standard as a governance tool is not guided by tangible ‘problems' that exist ‘out there’ but rather through the representation of ‘problems’ as framed in the EDGE standard. The EDGE standard is thus a productive force that give shape and meaning to various problems of gender inequality which at the same time, the standard is also meant to address. I conclude that in some cases, the EDGE standard can have positive effects. However, the lack of an intersectional approach limits the EDGE standard too. This thesis contributes to the field by closing a research gap in the academic literature on the effects and limits of corporate gender equality standards analyzed through a feminist poststructuralist lens.
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