The Great Debate UK

The future is female? A re-traditionalisation of gender

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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.

Girl power? Reality, fantasy or chimera?

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Susan Buckingham is a Professor in the Centre for Human Geography and Director of Social Work, at Brunel University in West London. The opinions expressed are her own. Thomson Reuters is hosting a live blog on March 8, 2011, to mark International Women’s Day.

In a recent public lecture on “Changing Britain” at Brunel University, I explored the proposition that society is becoming feminised. I examined current pay and employment data to argue that, while some statistics can be used to argue that some women are becoming more equal with men in some areas, the failure of women to significantly penetrate key decision making bodies, and continuing horizontal job segregation means that “girl power” is more a chimera than reality in the UK today.

Progress, but women journalists not home free

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CANADA NEWSPAPERS

Linda Kay is a former sportswriter with the Chicago Tribune (and the first woman to write sports for the paper), an associate professor and chair of the journalism department at Concordia University in Montreal. She is author of a forthcoming book called “The Sweet Sixteen” about a group of groundbreaking women journalists in Canada. The opinions expressed are her own. Thomson Reuters is hosting a live blog on March 8, 2011, to mark International Women’s Day.

My students are often surprised to learn that one hundred years ago, women were working as journalists in Canada. According to the 1911 census, some 70 women across the country were categorized as “journalists, editors and reporters.”

Royal wedding feelgood factor overrides feminist impulses

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RTR681Y

Sarah Gristwood is one of the authors of The Ring and the Crown: A History of Royal Weddings 1066-2011 (Hutchison) by Alison Weir, Kate Williams, Sarah Gristwood and Tracy Borman. The opinions expressed are her own. Thomson Reuters will host a follow-the-sun live blog on March 8, 2011, the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day.

More than a hundred years ago the great Victorian Walter Bagehot claimed that the women of Britain cared more about the marriage of a Prince of Wales than they did about a ministry.

Since he’s been gone

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USA

Susan Lapinski of New York City is an award-winning journalist who co-authored the book “In a Family Way” with her late husband, Michael deCourcy Hinds. The opinions expressed are her own. Thomson Reuters will host a follow-the-sun live blog on March 8, 2011, the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day.

There are more than 13 million widows in the United States of America, and sadly, I am one of them. I miss Michael, the six-foot-five-inch leprechaun I married, for a million reasons–maybe most of all because he made me laugh every day we were together.

Stories are powerful things

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EGYPT

Anna Perera is the author of The Glass Collector and Guantanamo Boy. The opinions expressed are her own. Thomson Reuters will host a follow-the-sun live blog on March 8, 2011, the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day.

The more we read stories about other cultures, the more we find places of balance in our own lives. My new young-adult novel, The Glass Collector, is a contemporary tale about a Zabbaleen teenage boy who struggles to survive amongst the trash heaps of Cairo in Egypt.

Women: a missing financial resource

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USA/

Melissa L. Bradley is currently CEO of Tides, and previously served as Founder and managing director of New Capitalist. The opinions expressed are her own. Thomson Reuters is hosting an International Women’s Day live blog on March 8, 2011.

Corporations love women – at least judging by the countless commercials aimed at women. Whether it is selling the latest toys, promoting the sales of bulk goods, or pitching a luxury item that may be on our wish list, advertisers recognize the power of women in making household decisions.

A new generation of feminist scholars

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TECH LIBRARIES

Jess deCourcy Hinds, a library director and writer, has written for Newsweek, the New York Times, Ms., and School Library Journal. The opinions expressed are her own. Thomson Reuters is hosting an International Women’s Day live blog on March 8, 2011.

I am the librarian at Bard High School Early College in Queens, New York, where my students speak 34 languages, from Albanian to Urdu to Tibetan. And I’m proud to say that these bright, culturally diverse students are learning about feminist history—some as early as 9th grade.  I had to wait until graduate school to become a feminist scholar with the kind of research opportunities my youngest students have now.

Shake up workplace gender roles to advance women

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Caroline Gatrell is a Senior Lecturer at Lancaster University Management School. The opinions expressed are her own. Thomson Reuters will host a follow-the-sun live blog on March 8, 2011, the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day.

It is around 35 years since equal opportunities legislation came into force in the UK. In theory, this should mean that employed women are treated fairly at work, and paid the same as men in equivalent jobs.

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