chapter  Chapter 4
11 Pages

Gender and workFrom school to the labour market

WithChristine Eden

This chapter explores what is meant by social mobility and the role that schools may or may not play in promoting it. It introduces the aspects of the policies of the Labour, Coalition and Conservative UK governments within the context of the UK’s arguably relatively poorer recent record in encouraging social mobility. The chapter considers the wider social and other mechanisms whereby advantage and disadvantage are transmitted from generation to generation and questions some of the assumptions on which social mobility policies rest, against the background of the ‘social congestion’. The easiest way to consider social mobility is that it represents movement within our society, usually from one occupational group or background to another of differing status and, in the eyes of some, worth. One way of thinking about the society in which we live is as a structure–of differing incomes, wealth, power, influence–of these occupations.