The Employability of
A Literature Review
The History of the Employability of Women
When Did Things Start to Change?
What is the Employability of Women like in Today’s Society?
Employability of Women…
Employability in relation to gender, age and race has changed significantly over the years as factors of our society change the way we live and work. As social norms change, so does the spectre of employability. History proves that the employability of women in relation to men has progressively shifted in recent years, as women become increasingly attractive to employers. In the past, it was thought that it was harder for women to gain a job than it was for men, however is this the case in our modern day society? In the past, women have been penalised with lower pay and less hours than men but recent history has stopped these things from occurring with new laws and regulations for employers to follow, such as the Equal Pay Act 1970, which will be looked at in more detail in the review. This literature review will attempt to analyse the differences in the past, and those which are still apparent today between the employability of men and women. Is it harder for a woman to get a job than a man? Firstly, it will cover the history of employability of women. Then the review will try to discover when things started to change and women started to become more employable. Following this it will discuss the employability of women in today’s society. Lastly, will be a conclusion, in which the findings will be reviewed.
History of employability of women…
Prior to the Second World War, there was a certain stereotype that women were’ housewives’: social roles were clearly defined. A woman’s place was at home, while a man should be at work. It was acceptable for a woman to work outside of the home, providing she did not have a family to look after, but she would have been paid less than a man, even when doing the same job. The Second World War changed everything. As the men left to go to war, the women had to run the home alone, but they also had to get used to going to work.
However, ‘It was understood throughout the war that what Britain's women were doing was really 'a man's job'. So many of them were dismissed from their work once peace was declared... In industries that were not heavily unionised, however, some women were kept on - not least because they were cheaper to employ than men.’ (Harris, 2011). Despite all of the work the women did during the war, they were still not truly appreciated and in fact the ‘housewife’ stereotype was still around in the 1970’s, probably due to the men regaining the majority of the work once returning from the war. This is backed up by the Women and Employment Survey in 1980, ‘The collection of employment histories in the Women and Employment Survey (WES) in 1980 started to break down the stereotypes still around in the 1970’s about women’s careers. The tendency had been to think that a woman’s main role was as a mother, working at domestic tasks.’ (Scott, Dex and Joshi, 2008).
Even though the stereotype had continued into the 1970’s, it was clear that it was slowly fading, the effort put in by the women during the war was starting to be appreciated, and as a result women were starting to become more employable, as shown by the fact that ‘women constituted 29 per cent of the labour force in Britain in 1911, and 29 per cent in 1951, but this had risen to 34 per cent by 1966 and had reached 43 per cent by 1991’ (Crompton, 1997). In the early 1990’s the rapid increase in the employment of women started to level out. This was largely due to the recession between 1990 and 1992, as the younger, less stable women chose to go back to school...
References: Allen, K. (2011) ‘Women look away now: you are working for free’ The Guardian, 4th November 2011 [Online] <http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/economics-blog/2011/nov/04/gender-pay-gap-inequality> [Accessed 14 November 2011]
Desvaux, G., Devillard-Hoellinger, S., Meaney, M. (2008) A business case for women. Mckinsey Quarterly. Issue 4, p26-33
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