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Synopsis

Even when there is commitment from the leadership and management, equality and diversity policies often do not translate into a sustained increase in women at senior levels of the organisation. This book explains why and sets out what is needed to effect real change.

The success of diversity programmes is dependent on organisational culture change. However the concept of culture is rarely defined, let alone systematically analysed to show its impact on gender. Dr Rutherford brings a sophisticated approach to the diversity discourse, using sociological and psychoanalytical theory to demonstrate the persistence of cultures which marginalise and exclude women in organisational life.

The book makes clear links between what goes on in society and what goes on in organisations. Why do women still suffer from a lack of confidence and require tailored leadership programmes when they have been educated in the same way as men? Acknowledging and understanding this wider context can help organisations and their members move forward in their quest for more inclusive cultures.

The book is not pessimistic, it is realistic. There has been a huge increase in women in the workforce over the past forty years. However for every advance there are new obstacles to overcome. The current vogue for explaining away women's lack of power in organisations through "differences" or 'choice' fails women, and is a strong example of the backlash that exists against the recent inroads women have made in public life.

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