The Great Debate UK

The future is female? A re-traditionalisation of gender



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?



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.

Time to turn our attention to the needs of the bully?


Libby Payne- Libby Payne is an executive committee member of the Employee Assistance Professionals Association and clinical director of CiC.  She has more than 20 years experience in the provision of workplace counselling and psychological support, specialising in the management of crisis interventions and complex personnel issues within organisations. The opinions expressed are her own. -

Bullying is a fact of life in many organisations, regardless of size or industry sector. And in recent days – for the right or the wrong reasons – the subject of workplace bullying has been thrust into the media and public spotlight. But beyond the headlines, bullying is a problem that organisations need to address and do so in a way that focuses on a positive solution, not a public battle to attribute blame.

The long term unemployed – an untapped workforce



- Chris Melvin is Chief Executive of Reed in Partnership. Any views expressed are his own -

The latest employment figures from the Government today confirm analyst predictions that despite the number of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance beginning to level out, pay is down and the number of people recently out of work has increased.