Doctoral researcher Stierncreutz Micaela

24300 €

Contemporary resistance to equality work in Finnish organisations

Tieteellinen tutkimus / siihen pohjautuva työ | Kaksivuotinen

Finland is recognised for its egalitarian values and frequently ranks as one of the world’s most gender equal countries. Finnish work culture rests on the idea(l) of equal opportunities for all, with a specific emphasis on diversity and inclusion. In recent decades, equality work has become a recurring – even compulsory – feature of organisational life, and the relevance of equality is often both well-rehearsed and emphasised at the workplace. In practice, however, organisations are struggling to achieve the equality they so enthusiastically advocate for. This is reflected in the Finnish labour market, which remains deeply gendered. It is becoming increasingly apparent that the substantial efforts to promote equality within Finnish organisations have not yielded intended results. In my doctoral thesis, I explore the contemporary forms of resistance that organisations face in their quest towards gender equality. Equality work evokes resistance in all types of organisations – even supposedly progressive ones. However, due to the shift in social norms and values at the societal level, the forms that this resistance takes have changed drastically. Recent research suggests that while equality work rarely faces open opposition, resistance can operate indirectly to undermine the prospect of change. Since these indirect forms of resistance operate 'beneath the radar' and never oppose equality as a cause, they are difficult to discern and rarely even recognised as resistance. It is this very trait that renders them so effective. However, the knowledge about how resistance operates in organisations where equality work is not resisted in any conventional sense, yet appears remarkably difficult to carry out successfully, is still very limited. Studying how resistance to equality work plays out in Finnish organisations is crucial for understanding – and perhaps even solving – the challenges that these organisations face in achieving gender equality.