Document Abstract

Equality at work? Positive action in gender segregated apprenticeships

Explores the attitudes towards the use of positive action aimed at addressing gender inequality in apprenticeships offered in sectors such as construction, engineering and ICT, areas in which women are generally underrepresented in England. Draws on: surveys carried out with young people and employers; focus groups; and interviews held with sector bodies, employers and young women. Explains that the data was triangulated with literature and data from a roundtable discussion hosted by the Equality and Human Rights Commission looking at the use of positive action in relation to underrepresentation on the grounds of disability, race and gender in apprenticeships. Provides information on the apprenticeships programme, standards/frameworks and qualification levels. Includes evidence of gender segregation in apprenticeships, highlighting the low percentage of female apprenticeships in engineering and manufacturing. Considers the causes of gender segregation and looks at attempts to address the issue. Discusses the concept of positive action (any measure that exceeds standard anti-discrimination provision) and outlines the legal and theoretical framework. Finds that: almost all participants appeared to have an awareness of the term ‘positive action’, however, many reported a lack of clarity and confusion around the detail of a definition; and the majority participants expressed favourable attitudes towards the use of positive action to address the underrepresentation of women in gender segregated apprenticeships and employment more generally. Suggests that positive action can be an effective tool for employers and organisations.


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Davies, Chantal
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Young Women's Trust

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