Manchester Metropolitan University's Research Repository

The role of gender in varying forms of flexible working

Atkinson, C and Hall, L (2009) The role of gender in varying forms of flexible working. Gender, Work & Organization, 16 (6). pp. 650-666. ISSN 1468-0432


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In this article we present empirical data from a research study investigating the implementation of the flexible working policies that emanate from the improving working lives standard in a National Health Service Trust in the UK. We argue that gender is accorded insufficient focus in the literature, considering the barriers that create a take‐up gap in formal flexible working practices. We further argue that gendered perceptions render unworkable attempts to portray flexible working as a gender‐neutral issue and demonstrate that such perceptions mean that formal mechanisms for flexible working continue to be considered to be a women's issue. We present data on informal flexible working mechanisms and suggest that a greater focus on combining these mechanisms with formal flexibility may help provide working time flexibility for a greater proportion of the workforce.

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