Great expectations: Exploring the promises of gender equality
Contributor(s): Glenn Gottfried, Richard Darlington, Laura Bradley
Published date: 31 Mar 2013
Download full publication Purchase via print on demand
Through this report, we aim to explore changes in women’s aspirations and expectations over time and from generation to generation, and to spark debate about the priorities for the next era of gender politics.
'We need a gender politics that is less about how women can succeed in a man’s game, and more about how to change the rules of the game.'
The analysis in this report draws on the 1958 National Child Development Study, the 1970 British Cohort Study and the 2011 Understanding Society household panel survey to explore trends in gender relations and paid and unpaid work. We also conducted a combination of group and individual semi-structured interviews with 50 women across 16 families across the UK, to explore their aspirations, expectations, attitudes and experiences around education and work, relationships and care, and the portrayal of women in everyday culture. These women's personal accounts provide compelling illustrations of the experiences of women today and the changes in British society over the last half century.
The report concludes that 'break-the-glass-ceiling' approaches have come to dominate mainstream debates about gender equality, and have led to a narrow focus on formal, legal equality. While important in seeking to combat the discrimination and sexist attitudes that still exists, this kind of approach is limited in its ability to bring about change in most people’s lives. A more meaningful approach to gender politics requires a move away from abstract debates about how the ‘average woman’ fares compared to the ‘average man’, and towards a set of policies and changes that are rooted in and relevant to the daily experiences of women.
These findings and recommendations focus on:
- women in paid work – where, for example, more high-quality, better paid part-time jobs are required to address flexibility at the lower end of the market and the concerns of older women
- caring responsibilities in the home – where a more progressive system of parental leave and affordable and accessible childcare provision would allow men and women alike to balance work and caring demands and aspirations
- women in culture – where a healthier representation of women needs to move beyond totemic 'women who've made it' and focus instead on breaking down stereotypes that affect many more women in a wide variety of roles and situations.
In the news
Women are still doing the housework
Sunday Telegraph - 10 Feb 2014
Inequality in the Pursuit of Feminism
New York Times - 10 Apr 2013
Author(s) : Richard Darlington - 09 Apr 2013
You may be interested in...
IPPR in the news
Ministers are 'not trusted'
Daily Mirror - 14 Apr 2014A real alternative to loan sharks
Sunday People - 14 Apr 2014Politicians of all stripes suffer sharp fall in trust
Telegraph - 14 Apr 201436% have faith in the parliamentary system
Metro - 14 Apr 2014
Labour pledges to introduce Regional Ministers
ITV News - 09 Apr 2014Putting the voice of English regions at the heart of decision-making
The Independent - 09 Apr 2014Labour's plan to 'bust open' civil service
Guardian - 09 Apr 2014Young electorate showing disenchantment with today’s politics
Financial Times - 08 Apr 2014
Labour's plans to boost Whitehall diversity
Evening Standard - 07 Apr 2014Dugher plan to 'bust open' Whitehall to 'working class'
BBC News Website - 07 Apr 2014Dugher will announce higher diversity targets for civil service
Independent on Sunday - 07 Apr 2014Tim Finch on The Big Migration Debate
BBC World Service - 07 Apr 2014
Michael Dugher: We need a more representative civil service
Mirror - 07 Apr 2014Politicians don't care about young people
Huffington Post - 07 Apr 2014Spencer Thompson on European jobs and skills (8min 30)
BBC World Service - 04 Apr 2014Graeme Henderson on greater collaboration between Scotland and North (1hr 36)
BBC Radio Cumbria - 04 Apr 2014
Summit will address funding for NW creatives
Manchester Evening News - 03 Apr 2014The UK's future lies in well-skilled work
The Guardian - 02 Apr 2014Hancock unveils 77 new tech levels at European Jobs and Skills Sumit
FE Week - 02 Apr 2014It’s not just prison books that are under threat, it’s British justice
The Telegraph - 02 Apr 2014