Public Release: 

Working in female-dominated workplaces means worse access to flexible working arrangements

University of Kent

Workers in female-dominated workplaces have worse access to flexible working arrangements than those in gender-neutral and even male-dominated workplaces, new research from the University of Kent has found.

It is commonly assumed that the low wages often found in female-dominated workplaces can be justified through better provision of family-friendly arrangements, but the research provides evidence that low wages are accompanied by worse working conditions for many.

The study looked at individuals in 27 countries across the EU. It found that the best workplaces for providing flexibility were gender-neutral - where men and women were equally represented.

Researcher Dr Heejung Chung, of the University's School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, found that what she called a 'women's work penalty' existed in every country covered by her study.

She said her research provides the evidence to 'reject the assumption' that women have better access to flexible working arrangements and that female-dominated workplaces are better at providing them.

Further, she argues that the research puts into question the theory of 'compensating differentials' that claims that low wages found in female-dominated workplaces can be justified through the better provision of family-friendly arrangements, such as flexible working arrangements.

The implication for policy makers is that the group of the population that may be in most need of flexible work arrangements may be unable to gain access to them.

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'Women's work penalty' in access to flexible working arrangements across Europe (Dr Heejung Chung) is published in the journal European Journal of Industrial Relations. See: http://journals.sagepub.com/eprint/XuK3U8Uk95pG2Bh3brMH/full

Dr Chung is Reader in Sociology and Social Policy within the University's School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research. Her research interests are broadly around issues concerning cross-national comparative analysis of welfare states and their labour markets.

For more information or interview requests contact Martin Herrema at the University of Kent Press Office.

Tel: 01227-816768
Email: M.J.Herrema@kent.ac.uk

News releases can also be found at http://www.kent.ac.uk/news

University of Kent on Twitter: http://twitter.com/UniKent

Notes to editors

Established in 1965, the University of Kent - the UK's European university - now has almost 20,000 students across campuses or study centres at Canterbury, Medway, Tonbridge, Brussels, Paris, Athens and Rome.

It has been ranked 22nd in the Guardian University Guide 2018 and 25th in the Complete University Guide 2018, and in June 2017 was awarded a gold rating, the highest, in the UK Government's Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).In the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2015-16, it is in the top 10% of the world's leading universities for international outlook and 66th in its table of the most international universities in the world. The THE also ranked the University as 20th in its 'Table of Tables' 2016.

Kent is ranked 17th in the UK for research intensity (REF 2014). It has world-leading research in all subjects and 97% of its research is deemed by the REF to be of international quality.

In the National Student Survey 2016, Kent achieved the fourth highest score for overall student satisfaction, out of all publicly funded, multi-faculty universities. Along with the universities of East Anglia and Essex, Kent is a member of the Eastern Arc Research Consortium ).

The University is worth £0.7 billion to the economy of the south east and supports more than 7,800 jobs in the region. Student off-campus spend contributes £293.3m and 2,532 full-time-equivalent jobs to those totals.

Kent has received two Queen's Anniversary prizes for Higher and Further Education.

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