Gendered systemic analysis : systems thinking and gender equality in international development

Lewis, Ellen D.

Business
October 2016

Thesis or dissertation


Rights
© 2016 Ellen D Lewis. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.
Abstract

Systemic intervention (Midgley, 2000) and Feminist Systems Thinking (Stephens, 2013a), both branches of Critical Systems Thinking, have been used widely to improve social and organisational systems. According to Midgley (2000), a systemic intervention can be defined as a “…purposeful action by an agent to create change” (113, emphasis original). Building on Midgley’s work, Stephens (2013a) created a non-hierarchical “… framework for feminist systems thinking, as a set of five principles that provide common sense guidelines for applied research and social action…” (8, emaphsis added). Presently, the small amount of gendered systemic research is troubling in a world where no country has achieved gender equality.

The purpose of this research is to conduct a participatory systemic intervention working in partnership with a U.S. non-governmental agency in Washington D.C. in the United States, and Nicaragua in Central America, I conducted a feminist systemic intervention in an international development organisation. This study found that a more structured systemic intervention method, currently named Gendered Systemic Analysis, was needed to support stakeholders in identifying potential improvements in their businesses: previous work on Feminist Systems Thinking left too much of a gap between theory and practice. In this research, I follow Midgley’s (2011:11-12) use of ‘method’ as: “as a set of techniques operated in a sequence (or sometimes iteratively) to achieve a given purpose. GSA uses a boundary critique process, which concentrates attention on gender, nature and voices from the margin as a means to create social change.

The contribution of this research deepened the understanding of how to empower individuals and groups to engage with systemic thinking and contextualise its theoretical and methodological underpinnings into a local knowledge generating systems leading to more sustainable change.

Publisher
Business School, The University of Hull
Supervisor
Midgley, Gerald; Cook, Joe
Qualification level
Doctoral
Qualification name
PhD
Language
English
Extent
3 MB
Identifier
hull:14575
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