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Market Feminism - Commercialization of Gender and Equality


The idea that gender consciousness can create increased profits is popular within business today. Experts are hired to achieve everything from gender conscious product design to more gender equal organizations. As a consequence more and more feminists turn to the market instead of the state to promote policies of gender equality. But what happens when ideas of gender equality meet profit interests and market logic? Magdalena Petersson McIntyre will study this question in the project Market Feminism - Commercialization of Gender and Equality.

The question will be studied through investigations of companies that sell consultant services on gender equality, and also by analyzing how a market for these issues and expertise is created.

Why does feminism move towards the market?
One can see it as an expression of neo-liberal discourses. It is part of a general trend in society where ideas of a small state and individual choice are strong. A strong current in society is that issues of equality will benefit if they are pursued on the market, and also that these ideas will benefit growth and profits, says Magdalena Petersson McIntyre.

What then might happen to feminism if it is pursued on the market?
Well, that is what my study will show. But from previous studies I have seen that gender becomes less of an analytical category and more of a fact describing gender differences. The view is that men and women are different and have different preferences, but that women’s perspectives and preferences must be seen. Another risk is that equality policies that doesn’t translate into profits will be harder to pursue.

Is there a market for these services?
It is a growing sphere and more and more companies are demanding these services.

Why is this important to study?
For gender research it is important to understan what it means for equality to be a part of the commercial sphere and how gender is transformed in the interplay with the market. The project thus contributes to knowledge of how commercialization effect understanding of constructions of gender.

Magdalena Petersson McIntyre, +46 031-786 56 68,