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IN-VISIBLE Academia: A Legitimised Glass Ceiling under The Guise of Merit.

My research helps shed light on how gender is institutionalised in promotional practices.

Marie Wengler is a PhD Fellow from The Department of Organization at The Copenhagen Business School in Denmark. Her research looks at one of the most widespread beliefs of our times: meritocracy.

In her own own words, she says that her research "explores the paradox between, on the one hand, the widespread belief in contemporary organisations that we, of course, only promote the best talent based on merit, and, on the other hand, a continued discrimination in promotion practices."

Discrimination in Promotion Practices is an Ongoing Problem

Marie's research sheds light on how subtle bias is embedded in commonly used promotional tools and procedures in contemporary organisations. She analyses the consequences of biased beliefs with regards to promotion, such as an increased risk of turnovers and a homogenisation of upper management.

Interestingly, Marie's project finds that gendered promotional practices affect people of all genders, not just women. In fact, Marie says: "My research helps shed light on how gender is institutionalised in promotional practices, which, in turn, result in discrimination towards not only certain women but also certain men. Rather than understanding men and women as two binary categories, I thus show the importance of operating with a heterogenous understanding of gender when discussing how the glass ceiling is (re)produced in contemporary organisations." 

Breaking the Glass Ceiling through Reducing Promotional Bias

Marie's work is interesting to us because it critically looks at some of the most fundamental assumptions the working world operates on: The idea that anyone - if they only work hard enough - can get hired or promoted in any space. Marie's work is demonstrating that gender has a meaning for promotional decisions and we need to dismantle our bias in order to make fair decisions.

In Marie's utopian vision, she manages to contribute to "the disruption of widespread promotional practices to help organisations become truly meritocratic rather than assumed meritocratic".

We would like to thank Marie Wengler for contributing to IN-VISIBLE Academia and wish her all the best for her research.


IN-VISIBLE ACADEMIA - Gender Studies Put Into Practice

This feature is part of IN-VISIBLE ACADEMIA, a platform for research from the fields of Gender Studies, with the goal to make it more visible and accessible to a broader public. The goal is to help Gender Studies research gain more visibility and thereby to build awareness about its meaning and relevance for society. We thus hope to provide alternative content to the anti-feminist hate speech and backlash that is increasingly associated with Gender Studies on social media.

Gender Researchers For Diversity In The Workplace

You can participate here. This project is run by IN-VISIBLE and MARGHERITA-VON-BRENTANO-ZENTRUM. For us, it is of secondary importance whether you are a professor, research assistant, or doing post-doc research - we are interested in your research if you feel like your results should be made more available to a broader public. We explicitly do not want to exclude anyone on the basis of their academic degree. The only criteria here is that you have had some sort of publication success with your topic and that, accordingly, our community could peek into it. If this applies to you, then you are welcome to participate. The incoming applications will be viewed by us and - if suitable - shared via our LinkedIn and Instagram in the form of features.


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