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Critically Discuss Hakim's Argument That Women's Heterogeneous Preferences Regarding Work And Family Are The Main Determinants Of Female Employment Patterns (Full Time And Part Time) In The Uk

4570 words - 19 pages

Women’s heterogeneous preferences regarding work and family are the main determinants of female employment patterns in liberal, modern societies (Hakim, 1991; Hakim, 2000; Hakim, 2006). Catherine Hakim argues that the emergence of a ‘new scenario’ concurrent with other tenets of preference theory, has resulted in constraint free societies whereby choice becomes the dominant explanation for the changes in employment patterns. A longitudinal study, using quantitative data interpreted by Hakim, reveals heterogeneous preferences of women, which can be grouped in to three categories: ‘home-centred’, ‘work-centred’ and ‘adaptive’ (Hakim, 2000:6). Within ...view middle of the document...

They are also responsive to social and family policies. Hakim controversially claims that this group of women obtain educational qualifications solely as ‘intellectual dowry’ (Hakim, 2000:6). Diametrically opposed ‘work centred’ women prioritise employment, they commit solely to work or equivalent activities, make larger investments in qualifications, are responsive to employment policies and make up a further 20%* of women. The remaining 60%* of the female population are classified as ‘adaptive’, they are diverse in their priorities often combining work and family, showing a lack lustre commitment to work despite having attained qualifications intended for future employment, these women are highly responsive to all policies. The third tenet of Hakim’s preference theory is the conflicting interests between the three preference groups. The conflicting interests of women has enabled homogeneous men to institutionalise the social conventions which underpin patriarchal society, subsequently affecting women‘s employment patterns. The forth tenet is the discordant effects of conflicting interests on social engineering policies, resulting in detrimental effects for women in employment. According to Hakim (2000) these are the main determinants of female employment patterns (full time and part time) in the UK. Essentially the specific female employment patterns Hakim is referring to are the higher number of women in part time and/or lower positions, and the higher levels of job satisfaction despite the disproportionately high level of women in low level jobs.The EOC (Equal Opportunity’s Commission) provides data on employment patterns, and most interestingly, it highlights the change in trends from the 1970’s. In Hakim’s opinion the ‘new scenario’ emerged within this era (Hakim, 2000:2). The EOC shows a marked increase in the percentages of women in employment with dependent children, between 1973 and 2004 the figure increased from 47% to 66%. The overall number of women in employment has increased by over a third to 12.5 million in 2005. Women in part time jobs work fewer hours than in the 70’s; the proportion of women in part time employment has remained around 2/5 and the proportion of men to women in part time work, despite male part time doubling since 1984, still remains heavily in favour of women. The percentages of women managers has increased from 1.8%, in 1974, to 33.1%, in 2004. The percentage of women practising law has increased from 6% to 41%, from 1975 to 2004. While the percentage of women Head teachers, at Secondary level, has increased from 18% to around 33%, although this isn’t geographically universal as Scotland and Wales have seen little increase since 1975. Male heterogeneity within job preference has increased, evident in male midwifery: figures of registered male midwives increased from 4, in 1979, to 108, in 2004. However, the proportion of men to women...

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