Experiences from Academia Around the World
Edited by Saija Katila, Susan Meriläinen and Janne Tienari
Chapter 4: From a Bottom-up Movement to a Top-down Strategy: Reframing Responsiveness to Gender Equality in an Austrian University
Regine Bendl and Angelika Schmidt INTRODUCTION We, Regine Bendl and Angelika Schmidt, are tenured associate professors at the Department of Management at the Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien (Vienna University of Economics and Business). Angelika is in the Institute for Change Management and Management Development and Regine is in the Group for Gender and Diversity Management. We have lived most of our academic and professional lives at Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien (WU). It is where we graduated and submitted our dissertations. Regine passed her Habilitation1 in 2004 and Angelika is completing hers. Since the 1990s we have been feminist activists involved and the integration of gender equality at the WU. It is from the latter experience that we developed and approach the following guiding question for this chapter: What were the processes of inclusion of equal opportunity and gender and diversity issues at the WU like and how did we experience them? While various accounts have documented university change processes towards gender equality from an organizational perspective (see Pellert and Gindl 2007; Danowitz Sagaria and Van Horn 2007) our story is a further contribution in understanding inclusivity efforts from an activist perspective (see also Katila and Meriläinen 1999 and 2002). We tell our story about the successful implementation of equal opportunity and gender and diversity initiatives at WU attending to the mobilization from the bottom-up, the changing roles of activist participants as well as the feminist collective’s changing role and relationship to the formal university management. We map this process in four...
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