Sub-theme 42: Imagined Futures for Gender, Diversity, and Intersectionality: Legacies and Opportunities of Theory and Research on Inequalities in Organizations

Jenny K. Rodriguez
University of Manchester, United Kingdom
Nasima M.H. Carrim
University of Pretoria, South Africa
Regine Bendl
WU – Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria

Call for Papers

This sub-theme is interested in the imagined futures of gender, diversity, and intersectionality (GDI) that both reflect on the legacies of the intellectual roadmaps of scholarship in the area produced within the last 40 years, and build on these legacies to move forward theory, methodological, praxis and politics to respond in diverse, innovative, and imaginative ways to the challenges posed by inequalities in organizations. These challenges come by the hand of new and reconfigured inequalities that continue to be (re)produced in organizations and are now part of debates in the public domain spearheaded by social movements (e.g., #MeToo, #NiUnaMenos, #NiUnaMas, #BLM, #Timesup, #climatejustice) that call for organizations to put knowledge to task and drive transformational change. Engaging with the spirit of this conference, this sub-theme wants to engage with propositions that contribute to the possibilities and potential of scholarship in GDI to help us achieve “a good life” in organizations.
The rapidly shifting landscape of organizations continues to pose important questions about the untapped possibilities of gender, diversity, and intersectionality (GDI) to help us to tackle new and reconfigured inequalities in the workplace (Rodriguez et al., 2016; Bendl et al., 2019; Ozkazanc-Pan, 2019; Cech & Rothwell, 2020). Even after roughly 40 years of scholarship that has developed a rich body of work that problematises gender, diversity and intersectionality, the past 10 years have presented us with a seemingly dark picture riddled with examples of inequalities (e.g., disadvantage, discrimination, harassment, violence, exclusion, etc) which raises questions about both the practical legacy of these discussions but also calls us to re-think how the way we use the concepts in theory, methodology, empirics and practice needs to respond in diverse, innovative and imaginative ways (see Holck, 2018).
Many radical societal forces have spearheaded this questioning, such as the departure from traditional binary narratives of identity politics as well as challenges associated with managing intersectional diversities in organizations (Carrim, 2016; Zanoni et al., 2017; Moulin de Souza & Parker, 2022). In addition, the momentous voices of social movements (e.g., #MeToo, #NiUnaMenos, #NiUnaMas, #BLM, #Timesup, #climatejustice) continue to centre gender, diversity, and intersectionality in wider debates in the public domain, calling for organizations to put knowledge to task and drive transformational change. This sub-theme is interested in discussing the ways in which discussions on GDI capitalise on their legacy and identify ways forward to contribute to the crafting of imagined futures for scholarship that identifies the roadmap for theoretical, empirical, methodological, practical, and political future(s) to tackle inequalities in organizations.
The sub-theme welcomes submissions with a theoretical, methodological, and empirical orientation that interrogate the legacies and futures of gender, diversity and intersectionality in addressing inequalities in organizations, as well as the ways in which scholarship in this area can contribute to ideas of “a good life” in organizations. Submissions might address the following questions (please note that this list is not exhaustive):

  • What discussions or debates could be (re)claimed by scholarship in gender, diversity, and intersectionality in order to tackle inequalities in organizations?

  • What should be the intellectual project of gender, diversity, and intersectionality to advance discussions about inequalities in organizations?

  • What are the imagined futures of scholarship in gender, diversity, and intersectionality in organizations?

  • How can discussions/debates about gender, diversity and intersectionality in organizations adopt a broader perspective by focusing on (non-hierarchical) dialogue?

  • How can scholarship about gender, diversity and intersectionality engage with different feminisms? How would this build on the legacies of GDI discussion and support advancing future scholarship agendas?

  • What would be useful analytical frameworks for imagined futures of theory, methodology, empirical, praxis and politics to tackle inequalities in organizations?

  • How can grassroots knowledge produced by social movements (e.g., #MeToo, #NiUnaMenos, #NiUnaMas, #BLM, #Timesup, #climatejustice) inform discussions about gender, diversity, and intersectionality? How can this knowledge support that scholarship develops its potential for academic activism?



  • Bendl, R., Fleischmann, A., & Schmidt, A. (2019): “Taking Care of Everybody?: Alternative Forms of Organizing, Diversity and the Caring Organization.” In: M. Fotaki, G., Islam & A. Antoni (eds.): Business Ethics and Care in Organizations. London: Routledge, 264–279.
  • Carrim, N.M.H. (2016): “Managing religious diversity in the South African workplace.” In: S. Gröschl & R. Bendl (eds.): Managing Religious Diversity in the Workplace. London: Routledge, 135–158.
  • Cech, E.A., & Rothwell, W.R. (2020): “LGBT workplace inequality in the federal workforce: Intersectional processes, organizational contexts, and turnover considerations.” ILR Review, 73 (1), 25–60.
  • Holck, L. (2018): “Unequal by structure: Exploring the structural embeddedness of organizational diversity.” Organization, 25 (2), 242–259.
  • Moulin de Souza, E., & Parker, M. (2022): “Practices of freedom and the disruption of binary genders: Thinking with trans.” Organization, 29 (1), 67–82.
  • Ozkazanc-Pan, B. (2019): “Diversity and future of work: inequality abound or opportunities for all?” Management Decision, 50 (11), 2645–2659.
  • Rodriguez, J.K., Holvino, E., Fletcher, J.K., & Nkomo, S.M. (2016): “The theory and praxis of intersectionality in work and organisations: Where do we go from here?” Gender, Work and Organization, 23 (3), 201–222.
  • Zanoni, P., Thoelen, A., & Ybema, S. (2017): “Unveiling the subject behind diversity: Exploring the micro-politics of representation in ethnic minority creatives’ identity work.” Organization, 24 (3), 330–354.
Jenny K. Rodriguez is Senior Lecturer in Employment Studies at Alliance Manchester Business School, UK, and Theme Lead for the Inequalities and the Life Course cluster at the University of Manchester’s Work & Equalities Institute. Her research focuses on intersectional inequality in work and organizations, and the interplay between identity, work, and regulation.
Nasima M.H. Carrim is Associate Professor at the Department of Human Resource Management at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Her research focuses on gender in management, culture, religion and minorities in the workplace from an intersectionality and identity perspective.
Regine Bendl is Associate Professor at the Institute for Gender and Diversity in Organizations at WU – Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria, for which she served as Professor and Chair from 2015–2020. Regine’s research focuses on organizing and managing diversity, gender/feminist/queer perspectives, subtexts of organization theories and the intersection of diversity, embodiment, and organization.