Are Women in Leadership Position in the Cultural and Creative Industries of Copenhagen Gender Blind? And is the Way They Organise Their company a Reflection of it?

Chiara Renee Podbielski & Christopher Lars Østergaard

Student thesis: Master thesis


While being gender equal, the Danish workforce has still high levels of both vertical and horizontal segregation. This lack of gender diversity could be justified through the lens of gender blindness. Gender blindness explains how people that live in a privileged environment and are not affected by negative gender bias, can consequently disregard the existence of gender barriers. Diversity is a fundamental stimulus of creativity and innovation and the cultural and creative industries heavily rely on them. Therefore, this research will focus on women in the creative and cultural industries of Copenhagen. Only women in leadership positions were hence interviewed to assess whether or not they were gender blind and if they organised their companies as a reflection of it. The purpose is to understand on a practical level, if gender blindness affects women that have the power to disrupt the perpetuation of lack of gender diversity and in what way. The eight women in leadership positions that we interviewed spread across fields of the cultural and creative industries of Copenhagen such as music, fashion, design and publishing. All eight interviews provided extensive qualitative data on the interviewees’ perception of the following subjects: the lack of gender diversity in Denmark and the creative and cultural industries of Copenhagen, perceived gender barriers, the way they value gender diversity, the way they organise their companies form a gender perspective, their sense of responsibility as role models and their feeling towards forced implementation of gender diversity. Each of these subcategories contributed in different ways to evaluating whether our research sample was subject to gender blindness and if they organised their companies accordingly. It was revealed that women that were gender blind had apparent gender equal companies but were in fact likely to perpetuate gender barriers. The women that were not gender blind appeared to organize their companies in a non-diverse way, creating incubators for female talent. This behavior was however justified as a coping mechanism against a system that advantages men in the workplace. Findings on women’s practical perceptions of diversity were also unveiled.

EducationsMSocSc in Management of Creative Business Processes , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2018
Number of pages231
SupervisorsLotte Holck