Gender and Responsible Business
ICCSR Annual Symposium 20 June 2013, University of Nottingham
“Call for Papers”
The marginalization of numerous voices from mainstream CSR discourse has been noted in particular with regard to voices from the South (Gilbert and Rasche, 2007; Nanz and Steffek, 2004), indigenous people (Banerjee, 2011), and women (Marshall, 2007; Newell, 2005). This symposium addresses such marginalization, focusing in particular on gender issues. Gender equality is recognized internationally as a human right, and identified as key to economic, social and democratic development in the 21st century by, among others, the World Economic Forum. Core CSR issues cannot be tackled effectively without increased attention to gender, as evidenced by the feminisation of poverty (Habermas, 1998); the importance of gender analysis in addressing environmental degradation (Marshall, 2007); and long-standing recognition of gender equality as a key to development (Millennium Development Goals). Yet despite acknowledgement by companies and CSR standards, the status of gender equality within CSR and other systems of responsible business research and practice appears modest. The purpose of this Symposium is to bring insights together from research and practice which examine and challenge this modest status.
Exploring gender issues through a responsible business lens requires us to examine not only corporate governance and workplace issues, which have been addressed by some researchers, policy-makers and companies. It also requires attention to the wider gender impacts of business including in the marketplace, the community, the ecological environment, and through corporate value chains. We do have the benefit of some earlier research on which to build, most broadly: the relationship between women’s studies and business ethics (Larson & Freeman, 1997); comments and critiques on business responsibility from feminist organization scholars (Acker, 2004); the business case for gender equality, and critiques thereof (Dicken, 1999); gender issues in specific CSR initiatives (Grosser and Moon, 2005; Kilgour, 2007); and in stakeholder relations (Grosser, 2009). Other literatures explore gender in global supply chains (Barrientos et al., 2003; Prieto Carron, 2008), and social reporting and gender equality (Grosser and Moon, 2008). Several scholars call for attention in CSR to women’s reproductive labour (Pearson, 2007).
While many of these researchers take a rights-based approach, Coleman (2002) opened an ongoing debate about corporate citizenship as a political process of participation. Here, Marshall (2007) explores the gendering of CSR and sustainability leadership, and others note the lack of participation by women’s NGOs in CSR (Kilgour 2007). Recent scholarship has begun to bring feminist perspectives to bear on the new ‘political CSR’ literature (Grosser, 2011), and to analyse CSR and gender issues from an institutional perspective (Karam and Jamali, 2012). Thus, while feminist critiques of CSR often focus on its discretionary nature, the growing recognition of CSR itself as a political project with important global governance implications, suggests that engagement between CSR and gender/feminist scholars is timely.
Our symposium brings together researchers to address these agendas, in order to explore how we conceptualize and research responsible business with regard to gender issues. The symposium will also provide an opportunity to learn from corporations, NGOs and policy-makers about leading responsible business practice, in order to inform a more coherent research agenda in this field.
Key questions to address include:
- How can we assess the wider impact of business on gender relations?
- Can CSR complement government regulation on equalities issues?
- Where has the dialogue between feminist ethics and business ethics got to, and what are the new emerging issues in this debate?
- What are the key gender issues in stakeholder relations?
- How are leading companies integrating consideration of gender issues in their value chains?
- How might CSR rhetoric on gender equality be instrumentalized by women’s movements?
- How might engagement with the CSR agenda contribute to feminist organization studies, and feminist research on regulation, governance, and even international relations?
- What does feminist scholarship tell us about marginalized voices in CSR, and their importance for addressing core CSR issues effectively?
- How does gender overlap with other inequalities with regard to business impacts in the context of globalization?
- What might a critical feminist engagement with the field of CSR/responsible business involve?
Authors interested in submitting a paper for presentation at the symposium should submit an abstract of 1000 words to Kate Grosser & Lauren McCarthy at firstname.lastname@example.org by 28th February 2013.
Notice of Acceptance of Abstract – 15th March 2013
Registration Opens – 4th April 2013
Full Paper Submission – 3rd May 2013
Symposium – 20th June 2013
For Symposium enquiries contact:
International Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility
Nottingham University Business School
t: +44 (0) 115 846 6976