Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Tamara Markey 

MA Design for Change

Passionate about driving positive social change, Tamara is a researcher working in the field of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI). Currently, she is involved in a European project addressing the skills gap in the management education sector concerning EDI competencies. With a Bachelor's degree in Business and Arts Management and recently graduating with a Master's degree in Design for Change, Tamara's thesis, titled "Re-imagining Business - Feminist Values for Organisational Change," focuses on utilising feminist values and emotional competencies like empathy to foster gender equality in the workplace.

Project Description

Feminist based skills such as empathy are fundamental yet underutilised skills in the realm of corporate leadership and organisational design. Despite the proliferation of Equal Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) initiatives in modern corporate structures, the persistent gender pay gap and the lack of female representation in high-level positions in organisations highlight systemic inequalities. This project explores the potential of feminist based values as a transformative tool in creating more equitable and inclusive workplaces, particularly addressing gender disparities in the labour market within the context of Irish organisations.

The Rationale

In Ireland, despite efforts of various policies and initiatives, a lacuna exists with women facing persisting inequalities in the Irish labour market and beyond. Gender inequalities exist across multiple facets of Irish life. These inequalities manifest glaringly within the labour market noticeable by issues such as the gender pay gap, gendered occupations, and an evident underrepresentation of women in senior, partner, board, and C-suite positions both in the corporate world and in political leadership. By examining the historical context and the current landscape of gender inequality, considering the influence of traditional business management theories, and exploring the potential role of new feminist-based methodologies, this research aims to highlight the significance of integrating feminist values into corporate structures for fostering gender equality.

Key Findings

The key findings underscore the systemic nature of gender inequalities in corporate structures. The interviews and survey revealed an outdated approach to business, with a belief that an organisation ‘thinks that it has authority over nature. So it creates policies and procedures that it suits the company, but actually are not consistent with how the world actually works.’ The charrette with business management students revealed an alignment of their studies with outdated business methodologies aligning with values such as efficiency and profit maximisation and less with values related to feminism such as empathy and equality, raising questions about the importance attributed to inequalities in the workplace. These findings serve as a foundation for proposing a framework for change within organisations.