The Equity Act 2010 in UK and the European Law are based upon the principle that woman and men should receive equal pay when doing equal work.
The Governments intention is to work with business to improve gender wage gap and issue information on voluntary basis. (Equality and human rights commission, 2010). Publishing gender pay information will benefit even small companies. According to ACAS, the Pay Gap Reporting would start applying in April 2017 (ACAS, 2016).
In the last 20 years feminist research tends to go beyond the binaries of existing male and female gender. The things that changed in the last years are not only the Act and the fact that soon most of the companies should provide information about the gender – wage gap. It’s a fact the society has changed. The multiplicities of sex, gender, racial, ethnic will provide us with new research categories. The focus of the feminist work can be referred to one of the proliferating causes.
Lorber (2010) argues that feminism today is everything as long as we get a critical perspective and the goal is economic, political or social. The idea to balance the professional and personal life have never looked better as it does today. At the same time recent research papers confirm that “workplace norms” limit the possibility for both men and women preferences for family arraignments. (Pedulla and Thebaud, 2015).
2. Literary review
The las 25 years the position of woman in the society has changed significantly. At the beginning, the authors pointed out that even if woman has worse job positions compared to men, their job satisfaction was bigger than those of the man. It is known as the “paradox of the contented female worker”.
According to Clark (1997), the expectations of the woman with the same job as man are lower. That is also seen as a reason why women hold worse jobs than men. They tend to lower the standards when it comes to jobs. Job satisfaction is measured compared to their expectations. They are seen different between gender.
More recent research paper argues that the job satisfaction of the women has decreased today. Today, woman and men are almost at the same level. The changes come from the fact that nowadays, woman have higher standards. The paradox is disappearing. (Green et al., 2016)
Women in UK are ranked 11 from 18 developed countries comparing the cost of motherhood, managerial positions they hold, employment rates etc. (Chamberlain, 2016). ILO (2016) report shows that economic growth is not a solution to the gender wage gap.
According to Chamberlain, they score best in holding managerial positions (compared to other countries from the list). The desperation comes from the fact that, the UK woman pay high price for motherhood, scoring below the average score.
Women in developed world (Wester, Northern and Southern Europe, especially) are more likely to have part-time jobs and are more likely to be underemployed than compared with developing world. It was noted than in UK woman tend to go for more family friendly jobs and positioned lower than they are qualified for (ILO, 2016). The raising number of women in small business trying to explain woman solidarity with other woman proved that woman or man tend to equally underpay their female employees. The solution is to challenge people belief on how woman in society are viewed today. (Penner and Toro-Tulla, 2015)
The comparison between gender and race proves that the results from the statistical measurement are statistically significant but there are no significant differences. Woman and white are generally happier with their job. Supportive coworkers are seen as significant factor to job satisfaction rather than race. (Banerjee and Perrucci, 2015).
From the above, the research questions to be considered would be:
1. Whether the increase of woman holding managerial positions can reduce the gender wage inequality?
2. Does the generosity of the parental leave increase the probability women to return at work and career prospect?
3. How can be achieved woman and man to enter non-stereotypical fields?
4. Is there a difference between the level of job satisfaction between different racial groups in UK?
The dominant position of a female researcher presents itself as a challenge when choosing the appropriate methodology. The main debates concentrate mainly against finding a connection between the knowledge on gender issues, feminist theories, women experience and knowledge. (Ramazanoğlu and Holland, 2002).
Action research is a qualitative method that can be developed through cooperation between the researcher and the companies. This method it is considered when we want to involve people in finding the solution of the problem. Despite being widely used in business and management, some authors say that it lacks rigor and favors the business. (Bryman, 2012)
Survey questionnaire, as part of the research process can provide us some of the answers we need. As there are many well known online tools to create and send the questionnaire, easy to fallow design, they can be a valuable tool and great addition for our research purpose.
The use of secondary sources and official statistic can provide us with high quality data. Even when there is no doubt of the quality of the data, sometimes they are not enough or they are not much related to the research questions.
Qualitative research methods are more compatible with feminism, because it allows woman opinion to be heard away from all the technicalities.
In the case of experimental methods, the authors suggest that we use them to investigate the distribution of the stated elements of job satisfaction, according to their earning and/or parental and marital status. It is also suggested to test the relationship between companies’ policies and preferences of the employees (Pedulla and Thébaud, 2015).
4. Discussion and conclusion
It seems like the changes that our society experiments in recent years call for debate on gender issues. New research efforts should focus on many gender related categories to determine the success and the implication of the new policies. As we have seen in the literature, the authors suggest that modern-day woman prefers both family and career.
The existing gender pay gap it seems to be the focus of the legislative bodies of the country. Company policies should be shaped, not only to meet the legal requirements, but also adjust to existing social changes, attitudes and expectations.
ACAS (2016) Shining a light on gender pay. Available from: http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=5865 [Accessed 30 January 2017].
Bryman, A. (2012) Social research methods. 4th ed. New York: Oxford University Press.
Chamberlain, A. (2016) New study: Best countries in Europe for workplace gender equality - Glassdoor economic research. Glassdoor Economic Research. Available from: https://www.glassdoor.com/research/new-study-best-countries-in-europe-for-workplace-gender-equality/ [Accessed 29 January 2017].
Clark, A. E. (1997) Job satisfaction and gender: Why are women so happy at work?, Labour Economics, 4 (4), pp. 341–372. DOI: 10.1016/s0927-5371(97)00010-9.
Equality and human rights commission (2010) What is the Equality Act? Available from: https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/equality-act-2010/what-equality-act [Accessed 30 January 2017].
Green, C., Heywood, J., Kler, P. and Leeves, G. (2016) Paradox lost: Disappearing female job satisfaction. Available from: https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/media/lancaster-university/content-assets/documents/lums/economics/working-papers/LancasterWP2016_002.pdf [Accessed 28 January 2017].
International Labour Organization (2016) Women at work – trends 2016. Geneva: . Available from: http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---dcomm/---publ/documents/publication/wcms_457317.pdf [Accessed 29 January 2017].
Lorber, J. (2010) Gender inequality: Feminist theories and politics. 4th ed. New York: Oxford University Press.
Pedulla, D. S. and Thébaud, S. (2015) Can we finish the revolution? Gender, work-family ideals, and institutional constraint, American Sociological Review, 80 (1), pp. 116–139. Available from: http://www.tessexperiments.org/data/Pedulla296.pdf [Accessed 1 February 2017]. DOI: 10.1177/0003122414564008.
Ramazanoğlu, C. and Holland, J. (2002) Feminist methodology: Challenges and choices. London: SAGE Publications.