Overcoming Challenges to Gender Equality in the Workplace: Leadership and Innovation pages:8-20
This chapter aims to draw together theoretical lessons on how to effectively foster gender equality at work. Based on the qualitative case study of a Belgian high-tech company employing a considerable number of women throughout the organizational hierarchy, we identify a constellation of policies, practices and narratives which dilute three classical hierarchized gendered dichotomies
at work: (1) male/female identities, (2) individualism/collectivism, and (3) private/public (Ely and Meyerson, 2000). Our analysis suggests that gender equality along these dichotomies is respectively fostered by narratives and practices of: (1) masculine and feminine competences as distinct, equally valuable and acquirable by all, (2) innovative work as a collective achievement, and (3) far-reaching work flexibility. Despite the absence of a formalized gender policy, the emergence of masculine, heroic professional identities is discouraged, creating more equal professional opportunities for women and men, resulting in gender equality.