Purpose – This paper aims to examine the role and experiences of women working in the industrial relations (IR) academy and to explore the recent claim that the subject of industrial relations has “been very receptive to the contributions of feminist analysis”. Design/methodology/approach – An examination is made of the liminal position of women IR scholars in the IR academy and their concern for feminist and gender analysis. Parallels are drawn with IR and trade unions, focusing mainly on Britain, which also occupy, simultaneously, insider and outsider spaces. This approach draws on the relevant literature and is then tested through a questionnaire survey of women scholars working in the field, the author included, together with interviews and interactive discussions about the findings. Findings – Gender politics remain highly contested in the IR academy, with women and their work experiencing considerable marginalisation and exclusion. Nevertheless women IR scholars display a high level of commitment to the field, especially its emphasis on policy and practice. The conclusion is that so far, a “gender turn” has yet to occur in the field in the way that women's studies is claimed as being part of a new knowledge movement. Research limitations – A limitation of the study is a relatively low response rate to the questionnaire, with a bias towards older, more senior women academics. Originality/value – For probably the first time the role and experiences in the IR academy of women researchers/ academics are examined and published. The study reveals that the exclusion and sexism experienced there closely reflect the gender and diversity analyses in the IR field.
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 27, 2012
Keywords: Women; Industrial relations academy; Gender politics; Industrial relations; Gender; Sex and gender issues
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