Women in management: gender, age and working lives
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The project reported in this briefing paper explored how age and gender inter-weave and impact on the working and home lives of women managers working in two EU member states, namely Finland and Scotland. The proportion of women in middle management jobs has increased, but few reach leadership or corporate board positions. There are structural problems, such as omissions in work-life balance, and gendered practices of old boy’s networks and men recruiting men (referred to as homosociality), which pose obstacles for the career progress of women. At the same time, women undertake a large portion of home/unpaid work and organising of family life more generally. This limits the time available to achieve equilibrium between paid work, career development and home life. In many organisations, an ethos of long-hours and a culture of presenteeism* impact negatively on efforts to ensure well-being and career progress. The challenge is how to address the multifaceted nature of gendered practices against the backdrop of ageing workforces and economic downturn.