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Department of Social Policy, London School of Economics GeNet - Gender Equality Symposium, Queens College Cambridge, 26 September 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "Department of Social Policy, London School of Economics GeNet - Gender Equality Symposium, Queens College Cambridge, 26 September 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 Department of Social Policy, London School of Economics GeNet - Gender Equality Symposium, Queens College Cambridge, 26 September 2008 Persuading employers to be family-friendly: a comparison of government information campaigns and the implications for gender equality Lisa Warth

2 Outline Gender inequality in access to family-friendly working arrangements Why some employers provide and others dont: awareness, willingness and ability Government strategies to inform, persuade and enable employers to be family-friendly: information campaigns Implications for gender equality Limitations of information campaigns, conclusions and outlook

3 Flexible working and gender equality Allocation of time to work and care deeply gendered Access to family-friendly working time arrangements can advance gender equality If left unregulated, provision spreads unevenly across and within workplaces Women are more likely to have access than men

4 Access inequalities across workplaces

5 Why are some employers more likely to provide? Conditions for provision Reasons for non- provision Awareness Need for time flexibility is not known because not communicated or ignored Willingness Attitude and beliefs of employers Ability Know-how and/or operational capacity

6 Information campaigns Work-Life Balance Campaign, UK ( ) Success Factor Family Campaign, DE (since 2005)

7 Strategies to inform, persuade, and enable Information and awareness-raising Persuading employers to support employees with care responsibilities Capacity-building and know-how

8 Awareness-raising High media visibility of the issues through high profile supporters and events Commissioning of research and dissemination of findings Creation of an infrastructure for exchange

9 Methods of Persuasion Construction of a business- case/win-win scenario The use of credible information channels Provision of PR opportunities

10 Capacity building Expert advice/consultancy services Guidance materials

11 How was gender inequality addressed? UK: targeting of male-dominated sectors DE: awareness-raising on work- family reconciliation pressures of fathers BUT in the main, gender neutral

12 Implications for gender equality Provision has increased overall But: access to family-friendly working arrangements has remained unequal

13 Access inequalities remain Percentage of female employeesLess than 10% 10-24%25- 49%50% or more Working part-time Job sharing Working flexitime Working a compressed working week Working reduced hours for a limited period Working from home on a regular basis None of these Availability of flexible working arrangements Source: Third Work-Life Balance Employer Survey 2007 Base: All workplaces with 5 or more employees. Figures are weighted and based on responses from 1,462 managers

14 Limitations of information campaigns In the main gender neutral, do not attempt to redress access inequalities, rather aim to increase overall provision. Business-case argumentation is gender- biased Diffused outreach can create knowledge- gap effect Non-binding campaigns cannot enforce equal access

15 Conclusions Information campaigns on their own insufficient to tackle gender access gap Can reinforce rather than redress gender division in work and care.

16 Outlook Gender-sensitive approach needed: attitudes towards men as carers Dual encouragement strategy: men as well as employers must be encouraged to make use of family-friendly working arrangements to promote more equal gender division of labour

17 Thank you

18 Access inequalities across workplaces


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