The Gender twist and corporate rule

Frank Carrigan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article focuses on providing a critical commentary of a law journal article written by Vijaya Nagarajan that posits the view that a gender change in the boardrooms of Australia would give an economic and social fillip to corporate Australia.1 By presenting a critical analysis of Nagarajan's article a number of issues connected with proposals to revamp corporations will be raised. In effect, Nagarajan's article serves as a catalyst for opening up the space to critique the type of corporate reform program she champions. One of the issues that will be subjected to a forensic analysis in this article is Nagarajan's strange silence on the profit maximization ethos of the modern corporation and its impact on gender roles. It will be argued that by ignoring the interpenetration of corporate profit and gender Nagarajan undermines the attempt to produce a plausible reform program. If an examination of the profit imperative is elided any reform agenda is reduced to tinkering with the corporate power structure. Corporate feminism is a reformist doctrine posited on reconfiguring the upper strata of the corporation whilst leaving intact the economic pillars of a profit-making system that relies on the extraction of private profit from wage-earners. In effect, if conceptual confusion is the hallmark of a campaign to reform certain corporate features the upshot will be a framework of analysis that fails to touch on the structural foundations of the modern corporation. A misguided theoretical and methodological framework to corporate reform that suppresses key social and economic indicia runs the risk of proposing changes that consolidate the ranks of the corporate elite whilst making a marginal difference to gender inequalities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-60
Number of pages14
JournalJames Cook University law Review
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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