Þorgerður Þorvaldsdóttir

Þorgerður Þorvaldsdóttir, Researcher, The Reykjavik Academy
E-mail: thorget@hi.is

Equality Discourses at Crossroads – Gender Equality vs. Diversity
The research aim is to analyze the development of equality discourses when equal opportunity work is being transformed from one-sided emphasis on gender equality, to broader notions of diversity or human rights issues. Although most agree with the principle of equal opportunities for all, there is no consensus on what the goal entails, how it should be carried out or which social categories of discrimination ought to be listed under the rubric of equality. Hence, these changes touch upon fundamental questions regarding the nature of equality work, and the usefulness and shortcomings of different equal opportunities strategies.

The research focuses on Iceland but equality policies in the EU and the Scandinavian countries will also be observed. The theoretical foundation are feminist theories of intersectionality, which focus on how various systems of oppression like race/ethnicity, nationality, class, gender, (dis)ability, sexuality, age, etc. are intertwined and mutually construct one another, but they appear as a promising point of location, from where the complicated process of rethinking equality work for all could start. The research contributes to EDDA’s first and second pillars, by analyzing the genealogy of equality discourses and by examining how complex inequality structures should be dealt with in equality work.

Research Field: Feminist research; gender studies; equality/diversity studies. Research Areas: Equality discourses, Gender equality vs. diversity/human rights, Equality/diversity policies, Images of the gender equal North, Feminist theories of intersectionality.
Keywords: Gender equality; diversity; human rights policies; ‘expansion of the equality concept’; intersectionality.

Presentations and Publications