2008-01-19Konferenzveröffentlichung DOI: 10.18452/1313
“Well, it’s Difficult, Very Difficult”
A Qualitative Study of the Gender Equality Work Aimed at Users at Three Public Libraries in Gothenburg
This paper examines how gender equality work aimed at users is practised at three public libraries in Gothenburg. The underlying factors if gender equality work is not practised are also explored. The theoretical starting point for the study is the gender system with its two leading principles, the hierarchy and the dichotomy, as described by the Swedish historian Yvonne Hirdman. Data was gathered by qualitative, semi-structured interviews with three head librarians. The results show that only one of the libraries explicitly practises gender equality work aimed at users, although different gender equality efforts is mentioned by another library. The gender equality work mentioned tends to focus on the library collections, and on attracting male users by offering what they are expected to be interested in. There are several reasons why gender equality work is not practised, or practised to a larger extent, at these libraries; a lack of knowledge, based on a lack of awareness when it comes to the structure of the gender system and how it is manifested in public libraries, a lack of interest, and clear directions from the steering documents. Conclusions drawn from this study is that public libraries need clear directions from above, education regarding gender issues, and to survey the habits of men and women at their libraries, if gender equality work is to be practiced. In order to achieve real gender equality, it is important that public libraries think beyond a biological, traditional understanding of gender roles.
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