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Policy for a change

Policy for a change: Local labour market analysis and gender equality

Edited by Sue Yeandle
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  • Book Info
    Policy for a change
    Book Description:

    Why is it so difficult to turn girls' success at school into success in the labour market? How does detailed evidence about women's engagement with local labour markets affect the 'preference theory' debate? Why is part-time employment such a popular but economically damaging choice for women? What barriers still limit women's horizons and narrow their aspirations? Using a new and original approach, this illuminating book explores women's employment at the start of the 21st century, in particular identifying aspects of women's labour market situation which remain poorly understood and challenging much 'received wisdom' about women and work. The contributors examine pervasive myths about women in employment which have influenced policy and explore a number of theoretical puzzles and problems which persist despite attempts to tackle them. Policy for a change will be essential reading for professionals, employers and trade unions working in human resources, regeneration, equalities and diversity, anti-poverty, skills and training, as well as for researchers, teachers and students in sociology, social and public policy, labour market economics, urban studies and management.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-372-6
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. List of figures and tables
    (pp. iv-iv)
  2. Preface and acknowledgements
    (pp. v-vi)
    Sue Yeandle
  3. About the GELLM research programme
    (pp. ix-xi)
  4. Abbreviations and acronyms
    (pp. xii-xiv)
  5. ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)
    Sue Yeandle

    This book,Policy for a change: local labour market analysis and gender equality, is about the position of women in the labour market; as such, it forms part of a now large body of literature on this important topic. As readers will find, however, it makes a very distinctive contribution, and fills an important gap, because it addresses two critically important but frequently neglected dimensions of women’s labour market situation. First, it contextualises women’s position – in relation to accessing employment, developing a career or work record and fitting work into ‘the rest of life’ – in the broader public...

  6. Part One Making connections:: concepts and debates

    • TWO Local labour markets in public policy context
      (pp. 13-34)
      Sue Yeandle, Cinnamon Bennett, Lisa Buckner, Karen Escott and Linda Grant

      This chapter presents a broad outline of the public policy context in which the topic of gender and local labour markets addressed in this book needs to be understood. It lays out our claim that while public policy has engaged very actively with the labour market in recent decades, it has not done so in ways that offer most women – especially poor or disadvantaged women – opportunities for change, achievement of their potential, or equal access to the best rewarded and most influential labour market positions.

      In the opening sections of the chapter we outline some of the major...

    • THREE Women’s labour market situation: myths, puzzles and problems
      (pp. 35-56)
      Sue Yeandle, Cinnamon Bennett, Lisa Buckner, Karen Escott and Linda Grant

      This chapter outlines a set of difficulties – conceptualised here as ‘myths, puzzles and problems’ – that need to be addressed if women’s position in their local labour markets is to be understood, explained and addressed in public policy. It draws on a reading of the now extensive literature on women and the labour market, and considers some of the ‘received wisdom’ about women and employment. The chapter identifies a number of themes to which we return in later chapters of the book. In it, we highlight some aspects of women’s employment and labour market situation that remain poorly understood,...

  7. Part Two Gender equality and local labour markets

    • FOUR Segregation and clustering in the labour market: men, women and local-level analysis
      (pp. 59-76)
      Lisa Buckner

      A primary aim of the GELLM research programme was to uncover, through secondary analysis of official statistics at the local level, a truer picture of women’s and men’s situations in the labour market in England. Earlier work in this field showed that central government often relied on national level analysis to assess men’s and women’s position in the labour market and to set the level of any employment targets, despite the fact that much implementation of labour market policy falls to local and regional agencies (Bruegel, 2000; DWP, 2007). The European Union had already set an overall employment target of...

    • FIVE Discrimination and disadvantage in local labour markets: issues affecting Black and minority ethnic women
      (pp. 77-96)
      Sue Yeandle and Lisa Buckner

      This chapter considers the labour market situation and labour force participation of ethnic minority women, focusing on three topics: the local labour market situation, in two locations, of Indian women, numerically one of the most important minorities in the English labour market; the position of two much smaller ethnic minority groups (Pakistani and Bangladeshi women), again in two specific local labour markets; and the relationship between changing levels of qualification, different family circumstances and labour market participation among Black Caribbean women.

      The evidence presented is drawn from several sources: statistical analysis of the local labour market situation of ethnic minority...

    • SIX Accessing the labour market
      (pp. 97-116)
      Karen Escott

      In this chapter, we argue that the difficulty some women face in accessing employment opportunities has been poorly understood by those designing and implementing employment policies. We examine why this is a problem and explore the position of women who are on the margins of the labour market. For this group of women, and for those women who are, in effect, excluded from the labour market, access to local employment is crucial. If labour market analysis and policy are to be effective, we need to understand why routes into the labour market work so inadequately for many women, and why,...

    • SEVEN Job design and working hours: key sources of gender inequality
      (pp. 117-136)
      Linda Grant

      This chapter explores formal approaches to job design and more informal workplace decisions, processes and practices relating to the structure and content of part-time jobs. It shows that these factors increase the tendency for women to experience economic disadvantage and poor-quality working lives, and play an important role in sustaining and reinforcing gender inequalities in employment. The chapter demonstrates that in many workplaces employers approach the design of part-time jobs, in a range of aspects, in a distinct way; the chapter seeks to explain the reasons for this. It also shows that there are more informal workplace processes, practices and...

    • EIGHT Tough at the top: women’s career progression – an example in the local government sector
      (pp. 137-156)
      Cinnamon Bennett and Ning Tang

      This chapter takes up the issues facing women with the skills and qualifications to progress to the most senior levels in the labour market. Research by employers and academics shows that women are very poorly represented in the boardroom and in senior management teams, despite over three decades of legislation and policy interventions on their behalf. Herein lies the puzzle. Do women themselves lack commitment to their jobs and to earning their own money, and are they uncomfortable wielding power, as some have suggested? Or are structural explanations, and the indirect discrimination found in workplace cultures and processes of advancement,...

  8. NINE Conclusion: policy for a change
    (pp. 157-164)
    Sue Yeandle

    As shown in earlier chapters of this book, gender equality in local labour markets is a goal not yet attained in the English economy; indeed, evidence gathered in the GELLM research programme suggests it has only very rarely been a priority for agencies responsible for implementing labour market change at local level. Given the gendered nature of participation in the overall labour market, which has long been recognised at national level, and the tendency of most workers, especially women, to work within a relatively short distance from their homes, this is both a remarkable weakness in policy making and a...

  9. APPENDIX A: GELLM research programme research methods
    (pp. 165-170)
  10. APPENDIX B: Employment and economic activity indicators for the GELLM localities and England
    (pp. 171-174)
  11. APPENDIX C: GELLM area profiles
    (pp. 175-186)