Empowerment Inc.: Can corporations really 'empower' women, and do we even want them to?

Room 205 Birmingham Business School
Wednesday 2 May 2018 (12:00-13:00)

This seminar is open to all.


McCarthy   WORKSHOP LEADER: Dr. Lauren McCarthy
   Institute of Advanced Studies Vanguard Fellow, Spring 2018

   Lecturer in Sustainability & Strategy at the Centre for Research into Sustainability
   Royal Holloway University of London and Velux Visiting Fellow
   Copenhagen Business School.


Corporations love telling us to ‘ban bossy’, ‘lean in’ and ‘shine’. Everyone appears to be a feminist now, and women’s empowerment programmes have become the poster-child of corporate social responsibility (CSR), especially in developing countries. But how much of this is reality and how much a clever marketing campaign? Can corporate actors really ‘empower’ women, and do we even want them to? In this seminar, Dr. Lauren McCarthy explores the paradoxes of CSR when we examine it through the lens of gender. Drawing on research into the cocoa supply chain in Ghana, the cotton chain in India, and activism closer to home, she unpacks the opportunities and threats to and for women at the intersections of business, development and feminism. What is lost, and what is gained, by the establishment of Empowerment Inc.? And how might it be different? 

Dr Lauren McCarthy is a lecturer at the School of Management, Royal Holloway, University of London. Lauren's research interests centre on corporate social responsibility and sustainability. Specifically, she researches gender and inequalities, often within production in global value chains. She is also interested in contemporary feminism, particularly online feminist activism and social change in digital spaces.