As part of the Women's Rights Week organized by the Knowledge Hub, we decided to take a look at the research done at Audencia, especially the ones dealing with the gender perspective: gender studies. We asked some questions to Camilla Quental, Associate Professor of Management.
Gender studies is a multidisciplinary field of research that studies social relations between men and women. Gender is considered a social construct and is analyzed in all fields of the humanities and social sciences.Overall, gender studies offer a reflexive approach and identify what determines masculinity and femininity in various places and times, and examine the way in which standards are being reproduced.
Can you give us a brief overview of gender studies at Audencia?
When I joined 11 years ago, Christine Naschberger was already working on issues of gender, diversity and disability; I was hired in this vein since my thesis was on the same subject. As time went on, we noticed that Audencia was hiring a certain number of people who had previously done research that examined gender in one way or another: for example, in entrepreneurship, or through the prism of diversity in organizations, with or without a feminist perspective. Last year, we proposed to Gender, work and organization, an academic journal, to host one of their conferences on our campus, and - although it didn't happen in the end - we realized that a dozen of us had gathered around this project.
All of this resonates with the issue of inclusiveness, which is at the heart of the 2025 strategic plan.
Indeed, inclusion is even more important today through the strategic plan, but when I arrived, diversity and equity were already prominent issues, especially in the context of CSR: for example, Negotraining was launched in September 2017. A lot of positive things have happened since I started working at the school. But it is also important to say that despite all the progress, there is still a lot to be done, and indeed the pandemic has further accentuated inequalities, even within households.
What led you to work on this subject?
I am Brazilian by origin, and I did my master's thesis on the work-life balance of women entrepreneurs in Brazil. When I started my doctoral studies, I continued to dig into the issue, and accompanied by a director specializing in this subject, I did a thesis on women in consulting firms, wondering why there were so few women in associate positions. When I looked into the issue of work-life balance, it became clear that women had more challenges to face on a daily basis, and my personal positioning evolved with my work. From an organization-oriented study, I am now looking at the issue of women more broadly, and more critically as well. I also now identify myself as a feminist, which I wasn't ready to claim before.
You talk about an evolution in your own perception of gender relations, as your researches progress: what about the students? Have you noticed an evolution in their perception of gender concepts, of the question of inequalities, since you began your career?
I notice it occasionally. I've been dealing with this topic for a long time, and 8 or 10 years ago, some students didn't understand what I was talking about, and said "why are we talking about this, these matters have already been resolved". However, at that time, we already had female students who came to ask why the cases were always male, why there were no cases of female CEOs or head of companies. So this demand is not new, but today, in my opinion, people are more receptive, the movements like #MeToo have allowed a general awareness. I was positively impressed, recently, by the choices of the members of Isegoria, who invited two women politicians from different parties, and by the questions they asked them. I thought that they seemed to be very aware of current issues, of recent books on the subject. I am hopeful that change will come from this generation!
To go further:
The Pandemic and the female academic ; Minello, A (2020.) Nature.
Reportage au Brésil au cœur de la favela des femmes ; Pain, J., Perragain, C. (2018). Axelle.be.
Ocupação Esperança. La favela féministe ; Hemmerich, M. (2019). Philosophie magazine.
Overview of recent academic researches made in Audencia :
Byrne, J., Radu-Lefebvre, M., Fattoum, S., & Balachandra, L. (2021). Gender Gymnastics in CEO succession: Masculinities, Femininities and Legitimacy. Organization Studies, 42(1), 129–159. (DOI)
Finstad-Milion, K., & Naschberger, C. (2014). Is there a female career? Unmasking perceptions of women’s careers. Proceedings for the Northeast Region Decision Sciences Institute (NEDSI), 1129–1143.
Hennekam, S., & Bennett, D. (2017). Sexual Harassment in the Creative Industries: Tolerance, Culture and the Need for Change. Gender, Work & Organization, 24(4), 417–434. (DOI)
Hennekam, S., Bennett, D., Macarthur, S., Hope, C., & Goh, T. (2019). An International Perspective on Managing a Career as a Woman Composer. International Journal of Arts Management, 21(3), 4–13.
Hennekam, S., Macarthur, S., Bennett, D., Hope, C., & Goh, T. (2019). Women composers’ use of online communities of practice to build and support their careers. Personnel Review, 49(1), 215–230. (DOI)
Hennekam, S., & Shymko, Y. (2020). Coping with the COVID‐19 crisis: Force majeure and gender performativity. Gender, Work & Organization, 27(5), 788–803. (DOI)
Jones, E. B., Ramsdell, K., Reid, E. M., Gatrell, C. J., Humberd, B. K., Quental, C., Ramsdell, K., Bartunek, J. M., & Clair, J. A. (2018). New Directions on Gendered Norms and Practices in Organizations:The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Academy of Management Proceedings, 2018(1), 13607. (DOI)
Naschberger, C., & Finstad-Milion, K. (2017). How French managers picture their careers: A gendered perspective. Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, 36(5), 401–416. (DOI)
Naschberger, C., & Guerfel-Henda, S. (2017). La promotion de l’égalité des chances dans l’enseignement supérieur Bilan d’expérience de plusieurs Grandes Écoles. Management & Sciences Sociales, 2017, pp.153-171.