Female Empowerment in
Science and Tecnology Academia
Handbook On Resistance
To Gender Equality In Academia
Festa Resistance And Gender Main Causes & Indicators Main Forms & Symptoms Recommendations Analysis Of Stories Conclusion & References

Conclusion & References


In this handbook a picture of “resistance” was attempted from the eye of a gender equality project to suggest ways of counteracting it for the people engaged in similar endeavors. During the course of FESTA activities in the partner institutions, an environment was created where changes to internal structures to advance gender equality were recommended in relevant areas. As the FESTA teams introduced key steps and essential elements of these changes, they encountered several incidents of resistance. The resistance cases recorded by the FESTA consortium and the analysis of these narratives provided us with important insights on the intersecting dynamics of resistance and the change process.
From the analyses resistance appeared to be a most complex phenomenon. In some of the cases we experienced difficulties regarding interpretations. Between the partners who reviewed the same narrative differences of opinion could be observed at times. The story analyzed under the title of “Not all women cooperate” was one of such cases. In the story a woman academic first agreed to help the project when necessary. After a while, when she was asked for an appointment her response was negative. Although refusing to be interviewed she repeated that she is willing to help the project.   One of the partners who reviewed the first analysis of this case commented that “…. if someone doesn’t give you an appointment but still wants to support the project, I would expect some sort of further signs of resistance… to come to the conclusion that this is resistance”. Another partner asked “…why is not workload a possible explanation?” Taking both of these comments into consideration “time burdens” were added to the “being uncomfortable with gender” as another possible explanation of the decline of cooperation. The recommendations were then adjusted to meet this possibility. As a general solution in such instances we inquired “whether the partner submitting the story agree with our interpretation, i.e. if any of the expressions is correct, according to those people who know the context best”.
The complex nature of resistance was also reflected in the multiplicity of the recommendations it necessitated. It was not possible either to find the miracle formula to fit all or claim what must come first. In many of the cases we felt that structural strategies i.e.  institutionalization, diversity and inclusivity should be employed alongside such interpersonal methods concerning communication and dissemination or networking and collaboration. In some of the other cases yet improvements in teamwork and methodology also seemed to be required for increasing the effectiveness of one or more of the other strategies.
Efforts to deal with resistance involve different levels of intervention with different structures and different results at the top and the bottom. Finalizing the process of change depends on the bottom-top combination of policies. Some of these interventions may prove effective in a relatively short time while some of the others can only be expected to work in the future.  It is necessary to use both levels as well as formal and informal processes to succeed. We therefore proposed i.e. to involve people with strong positional power, commitment and willingness in the project teams as well as giving priority to reach PhD students and research assistants in different projects/programs. Enhancing the gender awareness and willingness to dedicate more resources of the university management was one of our recommendations for creating the capacity for change.  We knew, however, that when the culture/people in the institution are not ready to respond to the demands of equality, measures from the top will also be useless. Therefore, such inclusivity measures as involving more women and men in the organization in gender equality work or organizing enthusiastic kick-off meetings to engage the whole institution, creating awards, etc. for disseminating gender awareness were among the recommendations for the bottom –top combination necessary for dealing with resistance.
Change is a challenging process, which involves the interplay of many agents. Moreover, academic working environments have their own organizational cultures and structures which differ extensively even within themselves. Gendered dynamics in an academic work environment are not only related to the organizational culture but also to the social and cultural dynamics in general. Any project to implement change to create gender equality ‎in academia should try to foresee the resistance provoked by such dynamics and take into account a multiplicity of interventions.  This handbook aims to be of assistance to those engaged with this task.  It does, however, makes no claims to contain all the right answers. It should rather be considered as a starting point for discussion and research on all the other possibilities in the diverse social, cultural and structural contexts. Although it was not among the expected tasks of WP7 in the FESTA project the handbook also serves to be an “awareness raising tool” by illustrating some of the “grey areas” in the culture and the daily life of academic institutions.


Abu-Lughod, L. (1990) The romance of resistance: tracing transformations of power through Bedouin women, American Ethnologist, 17(1), 41–55. Beer, M., Eisenstat, R. A., and Spector, B. (1990). Why change programs do not produce change. Harvard Business Review, 68 (6), 158-166.

Baker, S.L. (1989). “Managing Resistance to Change”, in Library Trends, 38, (1), pp. 53-61.

Benschop, Y. and Verloo, M. (2011) Gender Change, Organizational Change, and Gender Equality Strategies, in Emma L. Jeanes, David Knights and Patricia Yancey Martin (eds.) Handbook of Gender, Work and Organization (West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell), 277-290.

Benschop, Y. and Verloo, M. (2006) Sisyphus’ Sisters: Can Gender Mainstreaming Escape the Genderedness of Organizations? Journal of Gender Studies, 15(1), 19-33.

Bovey, W.H., and Hede, A. (2001) ‘Resistance to organisational change: the role of defence mechanisms’, Journal of Managerial Psychology, 16(7/8), 534-548.

Cavaghan, R. (forthcoming 2015) Bridging Rhetoric and Practice: New Perspectives on Barriers to Gendered Change, Journal of Women Politics and Policy.

Chappell, L. (2006); Comparing Political Institutions: Revealing the Gendered', Politics & Gender, 2(2), 223-235.

Constable, N. (2007). Maid to Order in Hong Kong: Stories of Migrant Workers (2nd ed.). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Dent, E. B., and Goldberg, S. G. (1999). Challenging "Resistance to Change". The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 35 (1), 25-41.

Denzin, Norman K., and Yvonna S. Lincoln. Handbook of Qualitative Research. Thousand Oaks: Sage

Diaz Gonzalez, O. S. (2001). Gender and Change in the Organisational Culture: Tools to Construct a Gender-Sensitive Organisation (Eschborn: Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit (DTZ).

Europe, C. o. (1998). Gender Mainstreaming: Conceptual Framework, Methodology and Presentation of Good Practices: Final Report of Activities of the Group of Specialists on Mainstreaming. Strasbourg: Council of Europe.

Fareeha Z., Kanwal N. (2014) Organizational Change and Dealing with Employees Resistance, International Journal of Management Excellence Volume 2 No. 3 February 2014

FESTA (2012)  Declaration of Work. FESTA [online], available at www.festa-europa.eu

Foschi, M. (2006) ‘On the Application Files Design for the Study of Competence and Double Standards’. Sociological Focus 39 (2): 115–32.

Foucault, M. (1976). La Volonté de savoir Vol. 1 of Histoire de la sexualité. Trans. Robert Hurley as The History of Sexuality Volume 1: An Introduction (NY: Pantheon, 1978)

Freudenberger, H. J. (1974) Staff burn-out. Journal of Social Issues, 30(1): 159-165

Gravenhorst, K. M. B. (2003). “A different view on resistance to change”. Paper presented at the “Power Dynamics and Organizational Change IV” EAWOP Conference in Lisbon, Portugal, May 14-17.

Hendrickson, S. and Gray, E.J. (2012). Legitimizing resistance to organizational change: A social work social justice perspective. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 2 (5), 50-59.

Hollander J. A., and Einwohner R. L. (2004) Conceptualizing Resistance, Sociological Forum, Vol. 19, No. 4, pp. 533-554.

Hultman, K. E. (2003). “Managing resistance to change,” in Encyclopedia of Information Systems, Volume 3. San Diego, CA: Academic Press, 693-705.

Hultman, K. E. (2014) ”Managing resistance to change.” http://humanproof.com/files/Managing_Resistance_to_Change_Ken_Hultman_%281%29.pdf

Husu, L (2001). ‘On Metaphors on the Position of Women in Academia and Science’. NORA, Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research, 9(3): 172–81. (Schippers, 2007), 

Jack, J. (2009) Science on the Home Front: American Women Scientists in World War II. Chicago: University of Illinois Press.

Jahan, R. (1995). The Elusive Agenda: Mainstreaming Women in Development. London: ZedBooks.

Kenny, M. (2011). Gender and Institutions of Political Recruitment: Candidate Selection in Post-Devolution Scotland, in M. L. Krook and F. Mackay (eds.) Gender, Politics and Institutions: Towards a Feminist Institutionalism. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 21-41.

Kanter, R.M. (1985). “Managing the Human Side of Change”, in Management Review, April, 52-56.

Kriegesmann, B; Kley, Thomas. (2014) "The demanding nature of selling change”: on vital exhaustion of executives in change management processes Published in:    Albeit: Zeitschrift für Arbeitsforschung, Arbeitsgestaltung und Arbeitspolitik.- Berlin : DeGruyter Oldenbourg, ISSN 0941-5025, ZDB-ID 11062848. - Vol. 23.2014, 2, p. 105-118

Kreitner, R. (1992). Management (5th ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Lawrence, P.L. (1969). How to Deal With Resistance to Change, Harvard Business Review

Lamm, Eric/Gordon, Judith R. (2010): Empowerment, Predisposition to Resist Change, and Support for Organizational Change, in: Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies 17/4, p. 426-437.

Lewin, K. (1951). Field theory in social sciences. NY: Harper & Row.Kotter, J. P. (1995). Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail. Harvard Business Review, 73 (2), 59-67.

Lewicki, R.J., McAllister, D.J. and Bies, R.J. (1998). “Trust and distrust: New relationships and realities”, in Academy of Management Review, vol. 23, no. 3, 438-458.

Liff, S., and Cameron, I. (1997). Changing Equality Cultures to Move Beyond ‘Women’s Problems’. Gender, Work & Organization (4), 35-46.

Lombardo, E. and Mergaert, L. (2013). Gender Mainstreaming and Resistance to Gender Training: A Framework for Studying Implementation. NORA - Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research, 21 (4), 296-311.

Lunenburg, F. (2010). Forces for and Resistance to Organizational Change. National Forum of Educational Administration and Supervision Journal, 27 (4), 1-10.

Mackay, F. (2011). Conclusion: Towards a Feminist Institutionalism? in M. L. Krook and F. Mackay (eds.) Gender, Politics and Institutions: Towards a Feminist Institutionalism. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 181-196.

Mackay, F., Monro, S. and Waylen, G. (2009). The Feminist Potential of Sociological Institutionalism, Politics & Gender, 5(2), 253-262.Pendlebury, A. J., Grouard, B., and Meston, F. (1998). The Ten Keys to Successful Change Management. NY: Wiley.

McIlwee, J. S., and Robinson, J. G. (1992) Women in engineering: Gender, power and workplace culture. Albany: State University of New York Press

Mergaert, L. and Lombardo, E. (2014). Resistance to implementing gender mainstreaming in EU research policy’, in: Weiner, E. and MacRae, H. (eds), The persistent invisibility of gender in EU policy, European Integration Online Papers (EIoP), Vol. 18(1), http://eiop.or.at/eiop/texte/2014-005a.htm, pp. 1-21.

Moser, C.O. (1993). Gender Planning and Development: Theory, Practice and Training. London and New York: Routledge.

Mooketsi, D. S. (2009). Managing Deviant Behavior and Resistance to Change, Unpublished Assignment
Submitted to the Department of Management, Faculty of Business, University of Botswana, as Part of
Assessment for MGT 674.
Morley, L. (2013a). The rules of the game: women and the leadership turn in higher education.
Gender and Education, 25, 116-131.
Morley, L. (2013b). Women and Higher Education Leadership: Absences and Aspirations. In:
Ed, L. F. F. H. (ed.) Stimulus paper from LFHE. London: LFHE

Morley,L. and Lugg, R. (2009). Mapping Meritocracy: Intersecting Gender, Poverty and Higher Educational Opportunity Structures, Higher Education Policy, 22, 37–60. doi:10.1057/hep.2008.26

Moss Kanter, R.(2012). Ten Reasons People Resist Change. Harvard Business Review https://hbr.org/2012/09/ten-reasons-people-resist-change

Moss-Racusin, C. A., Dovidio, J. F., Brescoll, V. L., Graham, M. J., & Handelsman, J. (2012). Science faculty’s subtle gender biases favor male students. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109(41), 16474-16479.

Niermeyer, R. and Postall, N. (2013). Mitarbeitermotivation in Veränderungsprozessen: Psychologische Erfolgsfaktoren des Change Managements. Freiburg: Haufe.

O’Connor, P. (2014) Management and Gender in Higher Education.  Manchester: Manchester University Press.

O'Connor, P. 2011. Gender and University Senior Management. CHES Seminar. London

Pendlebury, A. J., Grouard, B., and Meston, F. (1998). The Ten Keys to Successful Change Management. NY: Wiley.
Pincus, I. (2000). 'Male resistance and ambivalence in gender equality: Reforms in local authorities'. Paper presented at Workplace Diversity Research; A research Perspective on Theory and Research, Brusells. May.

Prometea (2008) “Empowering Women Engineers Careers in Industrial and Academic Research”

Razavi, S. and Carol Miller, C. (1995). “From WID to GAD: Conceptual Shifts in the Women and Development Discourse.” UN Fourth World Conference on Women, Occasional Paper No. 1. United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD).

Rebeka, E. & Indradevi, R. (2014). “Managing Deviant Behavior Towards Resistance to Change” Research Journal of Social Science & Management. www.theinternationaljournal.org > RJSSM: Volume: 03, Number: 12, April 2014.

Recklies, D. (2014). “What Makes a Good Change Agent?”  http://www.themanager.org/2014/11/what-makes-a-good-change-agent/

Rees, T. (1998). Mainstreaming Equality in the European Union. London: Routledge.

Ridgeway, C. 2011. Framed by Gender: How Gender Inequality Persists in the Modern World. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Rhoton, L.A. (2011). ‘Distancing as a Gendered Barrier: Understanding Women Scientists Gender Practices’. Gender and Society, 25(6), 696-716.

Roggeband, C., and Verloo, M. (2006). Evaluating gender impact assessment in the Netherlands (1994–2004): A political process approach. Policy & Politics, 34 (4), 615–632.

Sirkin, H. L.,Keenan, P. and Jackson, A.( 2005). The Hard Side of Change Management, Harvard Business Review, 83 (10), 83-118. https://hbr.org/2005/10/the-hard-side-of-change-management

Sheltzer, J.M. and Smith, J.C. (2014) ‘Elite male faculty in life sciences employ fewer women’ PNAS July 15th, Vol 111 (28): 10107-10112.

Squires, J. (2005). Is mainstreaming transformative? Theorizing mainstreaming in the context of diversity and deliberation. Social Politics, 12 (3), 366-388.

Thornton, M. (2013). The mirage of merit. Australian Feminist Studies, 28, 76: 127-43.

Verloo, M. (2001). Another velvet revolution? Gender mainstreaming and the politics of implementation. Vienna: IWM Working Paper, No. 5.

Verloo, M. (2005). Displacement and empowerment: Reflections on the concept and practice of the Council of Europe approach to gender mainstreaming and gender equality. Social Politics, 12 (3), 344-365.

Walby, S. (2005). Gender mainstreaming: Productive tensions in theory and practice. Social Politics:  International Studies in Gender, State & Society, 12 (3), 321-343.

Weisbord, M. R. (1987). Productive workplaces: Organizing and managing for dignity, meaning and community. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Ylmaz, D. & Klçolu, G. (2013). Resistance to change and ways of reducing resistance in educational organizations. European Journal of Research on Education, 1(1), 14-21.