Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Session Overview
RN14_03: State Regulation of Equality
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Hazel Conley, University of the West of England
Location: UP.4.211
University of Manchester Building: University Place, Fourth Floor Oxford Road

Session Abstract

State regulation and its impact in issues of equal pay and knowledge building.

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Gender (In)equality In Business And Countries' Welfare Systems - Discussion From A Comparative Research On Women’s Career Development Between Scandinavian Countries And Japan

Kuniko Ishiguro

Tokyo International University, Japan

This research discusses the issue of gender-(in)equality in business entities based on empirical research using qualitative methods focusing on life-history interviews. By comparing gender (in)equalities in Scandinavian companies and Japanese companies, the research found that gender equality is not merely about the advancement of women in the economy, but also encompasses much wider issues regarding perspectives on, and approaches towards, the meaning of work in one’s life in the society, for men and women alike. The research also found that those perspectives and approaches within the society derive from government policies and initiatives towards welfare systems, and illustrate a stark contrast between Scandinavian countries and Japan.

Data discussed in the research have been collected in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden (and Netherlands) during 2015 to 2018, and the research found that promoting gender equality necessarily requires welfare policies, reinforced by mutual agreement among business and labour. In addition, it further posits that despite the government’s effort to promote gender equality, the masculine business culture prevalent in Japan ignores the humanity of employees, both men and women, and saps the energy of its people, as well as organisations and society. Consequently, those static organisations and the society lose the fundamentals of innovation and competitive power in the long run.

While the persistence of Japan’s masculine business culture has supported these de-humanised management practices, Scandinavian countries have successfully developed social and business culture sustained by welfare policies that appreciate both efficiency in business and humanity of working people.

Regulating Women’s Pay in Finland and the UK – From Equal Pay to the Gender Pay Gap

Hazel Conley1, Paula Koskinen-Sandberg2

1University of the West of England, United Kingdom; 2Tampere University, Finland

One of the central tenets of equality for women is their financial independence. Equal pay is an established principle in the European Union, but recent debate has focussed on the gender pay gap and how efforts towards equal pay are hindered by a lack of transparency in pay systems (European Commission 2014). Without transparency, there is a lack of information and awareness among employers, employees and their trade unions about the existence of possible pay gaps in the organisation. Gender pay inequality also intersects with other forms of inequality (e.g. age, ethnicity, disability). The issue is therefore important in relation to policy debates on intersectional inequality and how multiple forms of discrimination are regulated. Finland and the UK represent different forms of ‘welfare capitalism’ (Esping-Andersen, 1990), have different industrial relations structures and different records in relation to gender equality, but both states have taken an active role in regulating pay equality and, more recently, the gender pay gap and pay transparency.

Drawing on an inter-disciplinary approach that combines socio-legal, industrial relations, politics and feminist research, the paper provides a comparative analysis of the legislation in both countries followed by a quantitative analysis of the data produced as a result.

Finally, the paper contributes to debates on the role of the state, employers and collective organisations in achieving pay equality, intersectionality, reducing the gender pay gap and how pay transparency data might be used by women’s groups and trade unions to pursue gender pay equality. Drawing on this analysis and discussion, the paper offers some conclusions on what we might expect for the regulation of pay equality in the future.

The Welfare Expropriation. A Case Study of Basque Country Welfare State from a Feminist Perspective

Jezabel Lucas García, Siro Bayón Calvo, Rogelio Gómez García

Universidad de Valladolid

Women have had a late and unequal access to well-being throughout history. This communication attempts to conceptualize the expropriatory exercise that women suffer from their productive and reproductive activities in Western societies. In doing so, we explore the literature about women access to welfare in Mediterranean welfare states, as they give a secondary role to women: at home as unpaid, invisible and unrecognized care providers; and in civil society as subsidiary holders of social rights. Specifically, we try to develop a concept and dimensions of expropriation of welfare in Basque Country within the context of the great recession. Structural adjustment and austerity policies have amplified the negative effects on women because they increase their domestic responsibilities by cutting social programmes that had alleviated (never eliminated) some of this duties.

The methodology consists on a case study in the Basque Country (Spain) based on the analysis of 21 in-depth interviews, 11 discussion groups and 56 observations of women and men in processes of social vulnerability, giving special emphasis on women’s voices. All participants were selected using a purposive sampling method based on different profiles. Through this qualitative analysis, the testimonies of expropriation of welfare are evidenced, making visible women discourses of self-recognition, renunciations, sacrifices, and gender syncretism, among others.

Finally, we make a proposal based on the generation of a socialization of care as an indispensable challenge to combat the expropriating socialization and to implement three fundamental principles that are manifested in the lives of women: equity, freedom and security.

Why Do Councils Introduce Knowledge-building Activities to Promote Equality in Public Procurement? An Analysis of Decision-making in Scottish Local Councils.

Katharina Sarter

University of South Wales, United Kingdom

Overcoming inequality and promoting a more equal society is one of the major challenges of contemporary societies. Public procurement, the purchase of goods, works, and services by public sector bodies, is an important part of government spending and government activity (Potoski, 2008). As an important part of states’ activities, public procurement can also play a vital part in fostering equality (European Institute for Gender Equality, 2018; Sarter, 2015). While equality increasingly becomes a feature considered in public procurement laws, the implementation of equality sensitive public procurement remains under-researched.

This presentation analyses equality sensitive public procurement at local level in Scotland. In Scotland, public authorities are required to consider equality considerations when purchasing. When doing so, public bodies have a considerable discretion. As a result, local councils in Scotland take different approaches to implementing the Equality Duties in public procurement, among which knowledge-building activities. Knowledge-building activities have been identified as particularly promising tools to foster equality as they may create innovation (Sarter, 2016). Focusing on knowledge-building activities, this presentation analyses the adoption of knowledge-building activities in local councils in Scotland. Taking a comparative approach, it sets out to analyse factors that facilitate local governments’ decision to adopt knowledge building measures.

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