United Kingdom

Women can vote but not flexibly work

February 2018

As women in the UK celebrate 100 years since they won the right to vote, they still have battles to fight in other areas of life, not least, the workplace. It is well publicised that women are paid less, even now, than men for the same skills.

And according to a report, Workplace Insight writes, employees in female dominated workplaces have less access to flexible working arrangements than those in workplaces that are either male dominated or gender neutral.

The study, from the University of Kent, ‘Women’s work penalty in access to flexible working arrangements across Europe’ looked at individuals in 27 countries across the EU and found that the best workplaces for providing flexibility were where men and women are equally represented; and it showed that a “women’s work penalty” existed in every country.

Researcher Dr Heejung Chung, of the University’s School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, said this study provides evidence that women do not fare well in the work place in terms of flexible working arrangements and that female dominated industries are not “better at providing them”.

Her research brings into question the lack of better provision of family friendly arrangements in which flexible working plays an integral part.

Amy Froude, a principal at Aon Employee Benefits said: “The needs and opportunity of flexible working will be determined by any number of variations such as the stage in life that an employee is at and the industry and specific company in which they work. Similarly, the definition of flexibility will also vary depending on the culture, workforce and region where they work.

Therefore, irrespective of being female or male, being able to work in a flexible manner and in an environment that can support this method, will play a significant role in the perception of equality.

Flexible working in a female dominated workplace is less about having access to this style of working arrangement but more about the company’s ability to offer this type of arrangement. It shows that if organisations are not offering flexible working it could be more aligned do the type of business it is and the type of jobs its employees do which prevents it from being able to offer flexible working without having an impact on the business and the culture within the company.


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