Gender relations in public organizations. Time, work and transformations (2022)

The main objective of this doctoral thesis is to understand why, despite the increase of women in the spaces of political representation, political organizations still reproduce an unequal distribution of political power by gender. For this purpose, structuralist theoretical approaches to gender inequalities in time and work are related to the feminist institutionalist perspective. In this way, the gender regimes of political organizations are analyzed from three dimensions: the gendered structure of time, the sexual division of political labor, and the agencies and resistances to change. At the same time, the effects of the degree of institutionalization of political organizations on their gender regimes are investigated and the intersection of social class and life course with gender is incorporated. The research is framed in Catalonia from a qualitative methodological strategy that takes the form of three comparative case studies of the following political organizations: a political party – Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) – a movement party, the Candidatura de Unidad Popular (CUP) – and a social movement organization – the Comités de Defensa de la República (CDR).

The results show, on the one hand, that political parties and party-movements have a model of militant engagement that expects a more intensive dedication to people in positions of power and gives more importance to the dominance of hegemonic deliberative codes in meetings (re)producing a class bias. On the other hand, the assembly-based organizational model of social movement organizations and party-movements requires more time availability and presence of the entire militancy and also presents segregation in the distribution and recognition of political work. Beyond the comparison between the typologies of political organizations, the results point to the existence of a vicious circle between the material conditions and the differentiated socialization of militancy according to gender, social class and life course, which feeds back into the norms and informal practices generated by political organizations. This vicious circle (re)produces segregated militant trajectories between men and women that exclude women from positions of greater power. Despite advances in the implementation of formal measures in political parties and party-movements based on the collective agency of women, the lack of responsibility of men and organizational structures in the implementation of measures related to time and the redistribution of tasks are the main resistance to feminist transformation of political organizations. In short, the research shows that if the interrelation between the sphere of life, including domestic and care work, and the militant sphere is not taken into account, the distribution of power between men and women in political organizations will continue to be unequal despite the egalitarian discourses and the increase of women in the spheres of representation.

Author: Núria Alcaraz Coca

Supervisor: Sara Moreno & Tània Verge

Date of thesis defense: 01/06/2022

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