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Symposium: Corporate Responsibility and Gendered Global Production Networks

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Royal Holloway University of London

11 Bedford Square

London

WC1B 3RE

United Kingdom

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Please consider submitting your research or organisational case study to our symposium on Corporate Responsibility & Global Production Networks at Royal Holloway, University of London, hosted by the Centre for Research into Sustainability (CRIS).

Corporate responsibility is expanding ‘beyond the office walls’ of corporate headquarters and into global production networks (GPNs). This one-day symposium seeks insights into the dangers, opportunities, strategies, framings and constellations of activity related to promoting gender equality within businesses – but also out into the societies, communities and households intrinsically linked with business activity. This agenda incorporates attention to a broader range of business impacts and stakeholders, including consumers, suppliers, workers, families, governments and the ecological environment - indeed GPNs (Grosser, McCarthy & Kilgour, 2016).

In the Global South the impact of gendered GPNs at the production and manufacturing stages are relatively well-known (Barrientos & Evers, 2014). Less-well addressed are the community and family impacts of gendered GPNs (Keenan, Kemp & Ramsay, 2016; Lauwo, 2016). Furthermore, corporate-led women’s empowerment programmes (Prügl, 2015), and ‘gendered CSR’ activities in post-conflict development zones (Karam & Jamali, 2015) are growing. Which women are empowerment programmes seeking to ‘liberate’- and from what, and for what ends (McCarthy, 2017; Ozkahanc-Pan, 2018)? How do these empowerment and responsibility agendas relate to feminist social movements, including in local contexts?

Gendered GPNs are also playing out in consumption and markets, for example in the stereotyped and sexualized depiction of women and men in advertisements, and in the gendered consumption of products such as Bic pens ‘for women’ (Maclaran, Otnes and Zayer 2017). On the other hand, we see feminism playing out in the marketplace –a primary characteristic of third wave feminism (Maclaran 2015) – via brands such as Dove promoting diversity in body size and skin colour. Yet what does such ‘market feminism’ (Kantola & Squires, 2012) really mean for feminist movements and does it contribute to greater gender equality?

Thus, we have seen an explosion in attention to gender inequality on corporate responsibility agendas at different points of GPNs. Taking a bird’s eye view of the spaces and places in which gendered GPNs and corporate (ir)responsibility occur, we invite theoretical, conceptual and empirical contributions that draw upon various strands in the gender, diversity or intersectionality literatures, including postcolonial, economic and human geography, political economy and other feminist frameworks that attend to the intersections of business, society and gender broadly. Themes may include, but are not limited to:

  • Corporate responsibility (CR) and gender relations in production and manufacturing of GPNs

  • Gender and CR in specific sector

  • CR and feminist social movements in local contexts

  • Gender and the marketisation of feminism

  • Gender, consumption and new configurations of corporate responsibility contexts

  • Gender, CR and the ecological environment

Extended abstracts of no more than 1000 words (excluding references) are due by April 15th 2018. Please email PDFs to lauren.mccarthy@rhul.ac.uk.

This event forms a ‘sister event’ to the ‘Corporate Responsibility, Gender and Feminist Organizing in a Neoliberal Age’ stream at the Gender, Work and Organization biannual conference in Sydney, Australia, running in June 2018.

Papers from both events will be selected for a special issue proposal of the Gender, Work and Organization journal.

Registration is free (kindly sponsored by the Centre for Research into Sustainability) but you must register your attendance.

For any enquiries please contact Lauren McCarthy: lauren.mccarthy@rhul.ac.uk

References

Barrientos, S. & Evers, B. (2014). Gendered production networks: push and pull on corporate responsibility? In S. M. Rai & G. Waylen (eds.) New frontiers in feminist political economy. Pp.43-61. New York: Routledge.

Bexell, M. (2012). Global governance, gains and gender: UN–business partnerships for women's empowerment. International Feminist Journal of Politics, 14(3): 389-407.

Grosser, K. (2016). Corporate Social Responsibility and Multi-Stakeholder Governance: Pluralism, Feminist Perspectives and Women’s NGOs. Journal of Business Ethics, 137(1): 65–81.

Grosser, K, McCarthy, L. & Kilgour, M.A. (2016). Gender Equality and responsible business: Expanding CSR horizons. Saltaire, UK: Greenleaf.

Kantola, J., & Squires, J. (2012). From state feminism to market feminism? International Political Science Review, 33(4): 382-400.

Karam, C.M. & Jamali, D. (2013). Gendering CSR in the Arab Middle East: An Institutional Perspective. Business Ethics Quarterly, 23(1): 31–68.

Keenan, J.C., Kemp, D.L. & Ramsay, R.B. (2016) Company–Community Agreements, Gender and Development. Journal of Business Ethics, 135(4): 607- 615.

Lauwo, S. (2016). Challenging Masculinity in CSR Disclosures: Silencing of Women’s Voices in Tanzania’s Mining Industry. Journal of Business Ethics, 1-18. doi:10.1007/s10551- 016-3047-4

Maclaran, P. (2015). Feminism’s fourth wave: a research agenda for marketing and consumer research. Journal of Marketing Management, 31(15-16), 1732-1738.

Maclaran, P, C Otnes and L Tuncay Zayer (2017), “Gender, sexuality and consumption,” in Routledge Handbook on Consumption, London: Routledge, p 292-302.

McCarthy, L. (2017) Empowering Women through CSR: A feminist Foucauldian critique. Business Ethics Quarterly, 27(4): 603-631

Ozkazanc-Pan, B. (2018). CSR as gendered CSR neocoloniality in the Global South. Journal of Business Ethics, DOI: 10.1007/s10551-018-3798-1

Prügl, E. (2015). Neoliberalising Feminism. New Political Economy, 20(4): 614-631.

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Royal Holloway University of London

11 Bedford Square

London

WC1B 3RE

United Kingdom

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