chapter  3
Women and the Labour Market: The Shifting National Context
WithSarah Jenkins
Pages 23

This chapter outlines women's position in the United Kingdom labour market from a national political perspective and provides a context for the detailed empirical work. It demonstrates how, and suggests reasons why, women's labour market participation has dramatically increased, followed by a closer examination of 'knowledge-based economy' and why women are a crucial component to its success. After an examination of contemporary government initiatives in Britain and policies affecting women, the chapter demonstrates the limitations of national political strategy and highlights the mixed messages that the Government are sending to women in their attempt to promote 'choices'. The increased awareness of a need for work: life balance has become particularly acute in years as our economy shifts towards a 24/7 service economy. However, flexible working is not only about part-time hours, it can include doing a full-time job during non-standard hours, or working part of the time at home.