ILA Book Series

Genderwashing in Leadership: Power, Policies, and Politics

Genderwashing in Leadership: Power, Policies, and Politics. Volume Editors: Rita A. Gardiner, Wendy Fox-Kirk, Carole J. Elliott, and Valerie Stead. International Leadership Association Transformative Women Leaders. Series Editors Randal Joy Thompson, Chrys Egan, and Dionne Rosser-Mims.

Editors: Rita A. Gardiner, Wendy Fox-Kirk, Carole J. Elliott, and Valerie Stead

Coming on 28 August 2024!  Preorder available on Amazon

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Genderwashing is the process whereby organizational rhetoric differs from the lived experiences of workers, creating the myth of gender equity in the workplace. Genderwashing in Leadership considers how the process of genderwashing highlights hidden biases in organizational policies and procedures, and patriarchal cultural practices.

International scholars from diverse areas such as leadership, organizational studies, sociology, and education explore how genderwashing occurs from various perspectives, including leadership, power and privilege, identity, and career recruitment and selection. Uncovering epistemological assumptions that underpin and sustain genderwashing practices, the ways in which genderwashing intersects with embodiment and intersectionality and how genderwashing policies and practices restrict women’s advancement into leadership, the editors host a space for dialogue and debate.

Table of Contents

Forward – Laura L. Bierema

Introduction – Rita A. Gardiner, Wendy Fox-Kirk, Carole J. Elliott and Valerie

Chapter 1    Feminist Thoughts Before Annual Leave – Emmanouela Mandalaki

Chapter 2    Genderwashing (or Genderbleaching) in UK Historic Universities: A Veil for Gender-Based Violence – Sharon Mavin

Chapter 3    When “Small Talk” Becomes Meaningful: The Concept of Encounter in Manager–Employee Relationships – Maylon Hanold

Chapter 4    Business Schools, Accrediting Agencies and Gender: Washing or Spinning? – Liza Howe-Walsh, Victoria Pagan and Susan Kirk

Chapter 5    Affinity Groups in Higher Education: A Critical and Intersectional Examination of Genderwashing – Paige Haber-Curran, Adrian L. Bitton and Natasha T. Turman

Chapter 6    Defensive Diversity Management as a Tool of Genderwashing in Exclusive Talent Management – Gelaye Debebe

Chapter 7    Patriarchal Penalty: Genderwashing at Hockey Canada – Hayley Baker and Jennifer Chisholm

Chapter 8    Genderwashing in Pakistani Higher Educational Institutions – Syeda Tuba Javaid, Rita A. Gardiner and Kasey Egan

Chapter 9    Rainbow Burning to Rainbow Washing: How (Not) to Manage LGBT1 Inclusion – Mustafa F. O¨ zbilgin and Cihat Erbil

Chapter 10    Genderwashing and Militarization: Women, War and Social Progressiveness – Natalie Jester

Chapter 11    Genderwashing Meets Girl Power: The Transnational Politics of Corporate–NGO Partnerships for Girls’ Education – Rosie Walters

Afterword – Gina Grandy

Volume Co-Editors

Dr. Rita A. Gardiner is Associate Professor, Critical Policy, Equity, and Leadership Studies, in the Faculty of Education, Western University, Canada.

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Dr. Rita A. Gardiner is an Associate Professor, Critical Policy, Equity, and Leadership Studies, Faculty of Education, Western University, Canada. Her publications include articles in Gender, Work and Organization, Business Ethics Quarterly, Leadership, and Organization Studies. Rita led a project team on a SSHRC-funded grant that examined the implementation of gender-based violence policies in Ontario universities. She is currently working on a monograph with Dr. Katy Fulfer on questions of home and belonging in the work of the political theorist, Hannah Arendt.

Dr. Wendy Fox-Kirk is Visiting Lecturer at the Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham, UK.

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Dr. Wendy Fox-Kirk’s research examines gender and power in organizations. She has, together with colleagues, developed the concept of genderwashing in organizations and how it creates a myth of equality. Recipient of the 2019 ILA Outstanding Emerging Scholar Award in Women’s Leadership, publications include articles in Gender in Management: An International Journal, and Advances in Developing Human Resources and, book chapters, Tolstikov-Mast, Y., Bieri, F. & Walker, J.L. (Eds) (2021). Handbook of International and Cross-cultural Leadership Research Processes; Madsen, S. R. (Ed.). (2017). Handbook of Research on Gender and Leadership, and in Storberg Walker, J., & Haber Curran, P. (2017). Theorizing Women & Leadership.

Dr. Carole J. Elliott is Professor of Organization Studies, and Associate Dean EDI & Development at Sheffield University Management School, UK.

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Carole J. Elliott, PhD, is a Professor of Organization Studies at Sheffield University Management School and Associate Dean Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Development. She is the former Editor-in-Chief of Human Resource
Development International and is currently an Associate Editor of Gender, Work and Organization. Carole’s principal research interest lies in the field of gender and leadership, including critical examinations of representations of women’s leadership in the media and popular culture. Carole publishes across a wide range of internationally recognized peer review journals. One of her most recent publications is the book coedited with Valerie Stead and Sharon Mavin, the Edward Elgar Handbook of Research Methods on Gender and Management.

Dr. Valerie Stead is Professor of Leadership, and Director of the LUMS Academy for Gender, Work and Leadership at Lancaster University Management School (LUMS), UK.

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Dr .Valerie Stead is a Professor of Leadership and Director of the LUMS Academy for Gender, Work and Leadership at Lancaster University Management School (LUMS), UK. Valerie has a research reputation of international standing in gender, leadership and learning, with a focus on applying and advancing critical approaches to explore women’s leadership, including the role of popular culture in women’s career advancement. Valerie is currently working with international partners on the EU Horizon 2020 funded TARGETED MPI project to develop, implement and monitor gender equality plans in Business and Management Schools. Valerie’s research is widely published including in Leadership; Gender, Work & Organization; Management Learning; Gender in Management, and Organization Studies. Most recently, Valerie has published, with Carole Elliott and Sharon Mavin, the Edward Elgar Handbook of Research Methods on Gender and Management. Valerie is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a Fellow of the British Academy of Management, and a Senior Fellow of the HEA.


The Transformative Women Leaders Series is published in collaboration between the International Leadership Association (ILA) and Emerald Publishing. Celebrating women leaders and the leadership styles they employ to achieve success, the books in this series highlight successful context-specific leadership approaches and the moral qualities of endurance. Serving as a model and inspiration for young women leaders entering the workforce and for women leaders currently facing challenges, it provides a community for women leaders around the world.

The series is edited by members of ILA’s Women and Leadership member community. 

Chrys Egan, Salisbury University, USA
Dionne Rosser-Mims, Troy University, USA
Randal Joy Thompson, Fielding Graduate University, USA

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