Women and Gender Equity in Employment
Patterns, progress and challenges

Perrons D

Working Paper 23, Institute for Employment Studies, February 2009
ISBN: 978-1-85184-419-7
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an IES working paper

Over the last forty years there has been a transformation in the gender composition of the UK workforce as women are increasingly likely to be in paid employment for the major part of their adult lives. Women have entered an increasing range of occupations and sectors and secured high level positions within some firms and organisations.

Yet gender imbalances remain with respect to the scale and form of employment and in remuneration. In many ways the organisation of the workplace and the domestic division of labour retain the imprint of a male breadwinner society which presents a challenge to gender equity within employment and in society more generally. So despite progress concerns remain regarding employment segregation, the value of women’s work and the uneven division of domestic labour. These are recurring themes in the literature over the last forty years so the processes leading to these outcomes merit continued attention.

This paper is divided into two sections: patterns and progress; and challenges and make some tentative recommendations by way of conclusion. It was commissioned by IES as part of its Visiting Fellows scheme, marking the Institute’s 40th anniversary.

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