Change is inherently a discursive project.
This means that change is restricted by the
structures of language and by the conventions
of language use. Change will be a product of
what can be legitimately said (or written)
in a specific context at a specific moment in time.
(For those of you who haven’t been following my posts, this is the sixth post in a series that analyzes the company policies of five video game companies: Blizzard, EA, Zynga, Riot, and Valve. These posts are all part of my dissertation and are somewhat taken out of context so that they are appropriate for the audience of NYMG. Rest assured, my actual chapter has far more of the boring academic stuff that makes it credible. For more detail on the policies, please see my previous posts. I have written this with the assumption that the readers are familiar with the policies of each company, as it comes on page 44 of my analysis chapter. However, I have attempted to repeat crucial details where necessary.)
Gender at Work, an organization dedicated to equality in the workplace, discusses their approach to workplace change in their report, “What is Gender at Work’s Approach to Gender Equality and Institutional Change.” They use a holistic approach to creating gender equality in the workplace, and they use a holistic approach when both analyzing extant workplaces and when actively pursuing change. For them, change is laid on two continuums that feature informal v. formal changes and individual change v. systemic change. The quadrant between formal and systemic change is workplace policies. In order to create change in this quadrant, Gender at Work reports that companies must at the very least have three things:
- “Mission includes gender equality”
- “Policies for antiharassment, work family arrangements, fair employment, etc”
- “Accountability mechanisms that hold the organization accountable to women clients” (3)
First, companies need to explicitly address gender equality. If there is no mention of gender equality in the formal documents, the possibility for equality in the other quadrants (access, consciousness, and internal culture) is severely limited. Then policies that represent issues that particularly affect women like maternity leave and harassment need to be explicit. Finally, formal systems of accountability need to be in place for when employee or customer rights are violated.
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