The civil service’s gender diversity agenda under the coalition: where have the critical feminist actors gone?


This article examines the patterns of gender representation in the UK Civil Service to interrogate the claim that there was a regressive change in the proportion of women in the most senior grades of Whitehall under the UK Coalition Government (2010-15). It does so by analysing both quantitative data covering civil service employment patterns during the Coalition years, complemented by new, primary qualitative data drawn from interviews conducted by the authors. The article presents an original explanation of these shifting patterns, emphasising the crucial role of ‘critical feminist actors’ in driving forward gender equality and diversity agendas in Whitehall. It concludes by highlighting dilemmas and risks involved in this agency-based approach to equality and diversity, which relies on the personal drive and commitment of key, senior actors; and at the same time is subject to the vicissitudes of change in personnel and political environment.

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Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities
College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities > Politics, History and International Relations
College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities > Aston Centre for Europe
Additional Information: © The Author(s) 2019. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Austerity,Coalition government,Gender diversity,Representative bureaucracy,UK civil service,History,Sociology and Political Science,Political Science and International Relations
Publication ISSN: 1746-9198
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2024 07:38
Date Deposited: 29 Apr 2019 08:58
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Related URLs: https://link.sp ... 293-019-00106-7 (Publisher URL)
http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2019-06-01
Published Online Date: 2019-04-02
Accepted Date: 2019-02-06
Authors: Fitzpatrick, Daniel (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-7044-0103)
Richards, David



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

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