Ligestillingens problematisering: En analyse af magtformer og problematiseringsforskydninger i ligestillingsbegrebets historiske opkomst i videnskab og politik

Nina Marxen & Karen Schmidt Steffensen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Present master‟s thesis is a study of the problematization of gender equality in Denmark from 1977 till 2009. Since the rise of the women‟s movement in the 1970‟s gender equality has been a constant subject of debate in the media, in poli-tics, in gender studies etc. This thesis investigates the development of the prob-lematization of gender equality as well as the solutions offered to solve the prob-lem in Danish gender studies and politics in the years 1977-2009. Through a close look at the semantics in the scientific and the political system the thesis further seeks to uncover the possible connections between the problematizations of gen-der equality in the two systems. The thesis‟ theoretical foundation consists of Mi-chel Foucault‟s thoughts and perspectives on problematization and power. In ad-dition here to we draw upon the work of Niklas Luhmann and his theory of social systems, thereby combining Luhmann‟s division into systems with Foucault‟s idea of an intertwined society. This unusual combination of theories enables a nar-rower area of analysis and makes connections between the two (artificially sepa-rated) systems more visible. The analysis shows that the problematization of gender equality has changed over the 32-year period in both systems. In the initial science of gender studies inequal-ity was made to be a problem resulting from men‟s repression of women, and the solutions proposed by the scientists were less traditional thoughts and different language about the genders. Later, inequality was seen as the result of society‟s repression of human beings in general, which was to be solved by reducing the very differences between the two genders. The focus then shifted to the impor-tance of family in relation to gender equality and influences on children‟s gender socialization were the solution. Finally, the workplace took centre in the problematization. Gender inequality was seen as most explicit in work context and there-fore organizations were the key to the resolution. The problematization in the political system changed from focusing on the discrimination of women, which was to be solved through the teachers influence of the children‟s gender socializa-tion in elementary school, to a focus on the negative effects of the existing or-ganization of society, resulting in the idea that gender inequality could be solved through different practical, formal changes of rules and regulations. After the turn of the century, gender equality became a matter of individualism and the chal-lenges were to be met with information, empowerment and free choice. The thesis argues that there are a number of connections between the systems. Among the analyzed connections a few stand out. The systems seem to inspirer each other – knowledge and semantics is leaking from one to the other, in both directions. Both systems focus on bio-political regulation. In both systems the subject is initially presented primarily as part of a group and later primarily as an individual. And finally both systems focus on the responsibility of society when it comes to gender equality – that is up on until the later year where they both begin to focus on the responsibility of the workplace and the individual.

EducationsMSc in Human Resource Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2010
Number of pages134