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Translating Policy into Practice

Most Swedish higher education institutions are public agencies in their own right and as such they are required to use gender mainstreaming as a binding policy approach. However, despite action plans and policies, Swedish academia is still permeated by gender inequality, stereotypes and sexism. This project contributes with knowledge on why it has been so difficult to achieve sustainable gender equality.

The starting point of the project is that the autonomy of the higher education institutions to decide on the details regarding how to organize their activities concerning gender equality work and equal opportunities results in great diversity between the institutions when it comes to the implementation of policies and regulations. The aim of the project is to investigate how government regulations and requirements concerning active gender equality work are "translated" into local policies, plans and actions by institutional leaders and gender equality practitioners in Swedish academia.

The project is structured into three parts that will analyse these translation processes and answer questions about the organizational and discursive frames for gender equality in Swedish academia:

  1. Who are the organizational actors translating general political visions into concrete, local goals? How is the so-called gender equality infrastructure organized?
  2. What discursive resources are used to define and legitimize gender equality in the local context?
  3. How can multiple and conflicting definitions and be explained?

The study is timely and highly relevant due to the latest regulation letter from the Swedish government stipulating new requirements for gender mainstreaming in Swedish higher education. Its’ relevance extends beyond this and contributes to the development of gender theory and organizational theory and informs our understanding of change processes in organizations.


Birgitta Jordansson

Helen Peterson



Project time

2017 - 2020

Page Manager: Anders Östebo|Last update: 6/15/2017

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