EEO co-ordinators as femocrats : feminism and the state : a thesis submitted in partial fulfilment for the degree of Master of Arts

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Massey University
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This thesis examines the relationship between feminist theory and femocrat practice. The central purpose is to examine the way femocrats act within the state and the extent to which they pursue a feminist agenda. This involved focusing on EEO co-ordinators as a case study of femocrats. The feminist debate about femocrats has raised a series of issues which concern: the structure and activities of the state and the extent to which non-dominant groups can use the state to pursue their political agendas; the ability of individuals to change the nature of the organisational culture and the extent to which those women in femocrat positions pursue the collective interests of women as opposed to their own individual interests. To explore this issue, this study has focused on the position, practices and networks of EEO co-ordinators working within a range of state organisations. In particular, this study examines the extent to which the strategies and issues which EEO co-ordinators have pursued in the development and implementation of an EEO programme are informed by feminist theory and practice. The central fieldwork component involved conducting indepth interviews with eight EEO co-ordinators. This study of EEO co-ordinators has revealed that the links between co-ordinators' practice and the agendas of the feminist movement were limited. Rather, an examination of EEO co-ordinators' practices, networks, and issues of priority has suggested that it is more appropriate to view EEO co-ordinators as pursuing a professional project within the field of EEO.
Sex discrimination employment, Women government executives, Feminism, Women in the civil service