The Great Debate UK

Shake up workplace gender roles to advance women



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.

In particular, women should be protected from discrimination on grounds of their potential, or actual motherhood. This story has a ‘glass half full’ side. It is true there are now many more women in business, management, parliament and the professions than in the 1970s.

However, another side of this story shows a ‘glass half empty’. The number of women holding positions of power within UK society remains very limited. It is still, often, men who hold the senior and most highly paid posts.