General Article When employers reward ‘ideal’ workers, gender equality suffers

Topic Selected: Gender Equality Book Volume: 432

When employers reward ‘ideal’ workers, gender equality suffers

Working late. Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock

Shireen Kanji, Brunel University London

UK deputy prime minister Dominic Raab recently resigned following the publication of a report into workplace complaints about his conduct, including bullying allegations. But this element of his behaviour wasn’t the only concerning workplace problem highlighted by the report.

It also detailed how, seemingly unencumbered by responsibilities outside work, his working hours ran from 7:30am until 10pm, Monday to Thursday, while Fridays were spent on constituency business, usually followed by extensive work on weekends.

When organisations or leaders support such working practices – either by working long hours themselves or rewarding those that do – it can deepen inequality in the workplace. Setting an expectation that it’s OK (or even necessary) to work beyond your contracted hours disadvantages those that need more flexibility, such as carers, ...

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