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Tuesday, February 10, 1998 Published at 14:01 GMT


Employers get wake-up call from working women
image: [ Women make up 45% of the British workforce ]
Women make up 45% of the British workforce

Four out of five women believe they are expected to perform too many roles according to a new survey.

The results are being heralded as a wake-up call for employers to change the way they operate - particularly the flexibility they offer women who work.

The number of British women in full or part time work has grown over the last 10 years. Women now constitute 45% of British workforce. But private health-care company Bupa, who commissioned the report, says the survey shows that the attitudes of working women have changed.

According to the results, more than half of working mothers - 52% - want to give up full-time jobs in favour of a part-time post or a jobshare. A further third would prefer not to work at all (31%).

The survey was commissioned by Bupa and health and beauty magazine Top Sante. Out of the 2,000 women who responded to questionnaires only one in six was enthusiastic about childcare.

[ image: Dr Franklin:
Dr Franklin: "survey sends a warning to employers"
Stefan Stern of the Industrial Society told the BBC that the survey shows employers will have to change the way they operate: "Employers will need new ways of working to enable people to balance home and work life. Good people are not going to stay with firms that don't show that sort of flexibility that they, as employees, are showing."

Dr Paula Franklin, from Bupa says that although they received only 2,000 responses from the 25,000 questionnaires sent out, the reaction is still a clear warning for employers that women are unsatisfied.

"The survey shows pressure they're under. Women are conscious they have to balance a number of roles, and that they are concerned they are not managing to do any one of them as well as they might. Demography means that we will have more and more women in the workplace so employers need to take note."

The survey coincides with the award of 1.5m to hundreds of dinner ladies who worked in Bedfordshire. An industrial tribunal found that Bedfordshire County Council breached the Sex Discrimination Act and the Equal Pay Act by cutting the women's pay rates, holiday entitlements and sick pay four years ago.

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