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Title: Explaining the uneven gender distribution of workers across architecture, town planning, electrical work and plumbing
Author: Chilcott, Shireen
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis asks 'why are there more women in the highly skilled professions of architecture and town planning, than the lesser skilled trades of electrical work and plumbing?' These occupations are interesting because they deviate from the general pattern in the UK labour market, which is for women to be disproportionately represented in occupations deemed to be lower skilled and low-paid, and for men to predominate in higher skilled, well-paid occupations. In these four occupations it is the middle class professions of architecture and town planning, requiring high levels of education and specialist training into which women are advancing, as opposed to the working class occupations of electrical work and plumbing. To investigate this counter-finding, a comparative analysis of the four occupations was undertaken with reference to two theoretical frameworks, which have been mobilised to explain gendered labour market inequalities. One is human capital, which proposes that men make more of an investment in education, training and work experience than women. The other is closure, which suggests that women's access to certain occupations is restricted. There is however a third standpoint that these two theoretical frameworks may be interconnected, and this thesis investigates this position. It also develops the concept of the leaky pipeline. My research revealed that the generic entry requirements into architecture and town planning render these professions equally accessible to women and men. However, in electrical work and plumbing I suggest that the prerequisites attached to accessing and completing specialist training might act as mechanisms of partial closure which impede women's entry and restrict women"s flow along the occupational pipelines. Therefore, I conclude that in relation to electrical work and plumbing training, specialist human capital and partial closure are hybridised. The female electricians and plumbers I interviewed experienced overt and subtle mechanisms of partial closure on site, which were gendered and classed, and this had consequences for the type of work undertaken.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available