Confronting informal resistance and empty commitment: Contradictions in the local adoption of gender mainstreaming
This article explores the local adoption of gender mainstreaming in Swedish public organisations in the Västra Götaland region. Using both observations and ethnographic interviews this study highlights the experiences of gender equality practitioners. The interviewees have central functions relating to gender equality in municipalities or public organisations with administrative authorities. Local interpretations of the strategy as well as cultural and institutional obstacles are a central focus. The theoretical framework used concerns gender patterns in organizations, formal commitment and performativity. Furthermore, theories concerning the local translation of ideas are used. The results of this study imply that the local adoption of gender mainstreaming is characterized by problematic features. Public organisations can use this strategy to gain legitimacy, and therefore reinforce empty commitment to gender equality. Embedded informal resistance in organisations are understood as contributing to this solution. It is concluded that the strategy contains internal contradictions and that it does not consider important cultural aspects related to the implementation of gender equality initiatives.