The Great Debate UK
Ruth Simpson is professor in management at Brunel Business School in West London and founding member of the Centre for Research in Emotion Work and Employment Studies. The opinions expressed are her own. Thomson Reuters is hosting a live blog for the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day on March 8, 2011.
Are we in a post-feminist era or are conventional images of masculinity and femininity re-surfacing in society? I argue that rather than gender disadvantage being a thing of the past, as captured in understandings of post-feminism, gender is becoming more entrenched. In fact post-feminism itself – the belief that sexism is over – has allowed renewed disadvantage to emerge.
Post-feminism can be identified in a range of social trends. It can be seen in representations, common in the media, of the “Future is Female” celebrating the supposed assets that women bring into organizations. Women are thus seen to be the new “winners” – bringing crucial “emotional skills” to an economy characterised by attention to customer service and to “modern” organizations that are based on managing horizontal relationships rather than vertical ones and on a need for team-working rather than old-fashioned command and control.
Women are seen to have the right skills and mindset for this new working environment – to be adept at listening and communication, to be risk-aware rather than risk-taking and to be charismatic and visionary leaders. These celebratory visions are associated with Generation Y – the younger generation born after 1977 and who are just entering or who have recently enrolled in the labour market.
-Professor Amir Sharif is professor of operations management and director of MBA programmes at Brunel Business School. The opinions expressed are his own.-
It will not have escaped anyone’s notice recently that volcanoes and aircraft do not mix. Six days of global flights being reduced by 30 percent of normal traffic volume amounted to a staggering $200 million per day loss (according to industry bodies such as IATA and the AEA).