Kønsdebattens diskurser og deres konsekvenser for erhvervslivet

Trine Løfholm

Studenteropgave: Speciale


This master thesis examines the equality issues cooperate Denmark seen through a social constructivist perspective. The concept of gender, which underlies the thesis, is presented as well as classic and modern theoretical gender research in order to examine why only 6% of Danish boardroom seats are held by women along with the conflicting arguments behind this underrepresentation. Based on this, the dissertation answers the following research question: What are the consequences of the female underrepresentation of leaders in Danish companies based on five discourses presented by Betina Rennison? The research question is addressed through classic theorists such as Pierre Bourdieu, Michel Foucault and Anthony Giddens. These theories cover power order, intimacy and the late modernity. The theories are complemented by gender theories presented by Judith Butler and Betina Rennison. By examining Rennison’s five gender discourses through the abovementioned classic theory, the consequences of female underrepresentation in Danish top management are recognized and analyzed. The purpose of this analysis is to give a broader understanding of the Danish society’s conflicting opinions on female leaders and management. The thesis examines the following consequences: The biological discourse argues that men, by nature, are physically and mentally superior to women as cooperate leaders. The financial crisis has resulted in a lack of jobs; leaving businesses to hire the best suited (men). The talent discourse sets talent above gender, but argues that women do not posses the professional skills it takes to manage a business. But by providing women with better work opportunities, education and training they (women) may be able to obtain men’s edge. The utility discourse argues that female leadership contribute a certain set of values, which businesses are missing out on by not hiring women for top management. Business should offer a helping hand through affirmative action in order to make use of female leadership. Thereby companies may offset the differences between genders and thereby be able to exploit the qualities women offer. The exclusion discourse is based on a feministic perspective, which views women as victims of prejudice, oppressed by society and excluded from any decision-making position. The consequence of this discourse is, that businesses will have to focus on the results and not how many hours their employees put in the work. The freedom discourse argues, that we are not bound by society but instead free individuals, who are able to create or change our position. According to the freedom discourse it is up the individual woman to come out of her shell and break the pattern of female underrepresentation in top management. This means that the society would be based on free individuals and thereby a more equal gender represented work life would be the consequence. The theoretical analysis of discourses is also viewed through an empirical case study based upon the Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and the brewery Carlsberg. The cases represent the circumstances of female leadership at top level and the changes in cooperate thinking and strategy, such as CSR. The cases are used to anchor discourses and theory in concrete and realistic illustrations of the discourses in the equality debate. By doing so the thesis creates a framework of understanding which examines the consequences of female underrepresentation in Danish cooperative top management. Keywords: Gender, Discourses, Business, Equality.

UddannelserVirksomhedsstudier, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato1 feb. 2013
VejledereBoel Jørgensen


  • Gender, Business, equality, discourses