University Of Tasmania

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Resistance and backlash to gender equality

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 21:23 authored by Flood, M, Dragiewicz, M, Bob PeaseBob Pease
Resistance to efforts to advance gender equality is a common feature of social life, whether in workplaces and other organisations or elsewhere. In this article, we review the typical character, dynamics of and contexts for resistance to gender equality measures. Resistance is an inevitable, although undesirable, response to efforts at progressive social change. Backlash and resistance to gender equality take common forms including: denial of the problem, disavowal of responsibility, inaction, appeasement, co-option and repression. Resistance may be individual or collective, formal or informal. Pushback against gender equality measures comes more often from members of the privileged group (men) than the disadvantaged group (women). Resistance is a predictable expression of the defence of institutionalised privilege, but it is also shaped by widespread discourses on “sex roles” and “post-feminism,” the methods adopted to advance gender equality and the contexts in which they take place. Understanding the character and dynamics of resistance and backlash is vital for preventing and reducing them.


Publication title

Australian Journal of Social Sciences




School of Social Sciences


Open Knowledge Australia Pty Ltd.

Place of publication


Rights statement

© 2020 Australian Social Policy Association

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  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Pacific Peoples community services not elsewhere classified

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