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Post-Industrial women

Lindsay, Isobel (2005) Post-Industrial women. In: The new red paper on Scotland. Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, UK. ISBN 1-903661-86-2

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The past three decades have been a period of exceptional change for women . The face of the professions and much of middle management in Scotland is increasingly female. The gender profile of politics has changed significantly. But the face of poverty is also most likely to be a woman's face while the top jobs are still predominantly male. These changes have been accompanied by demographic developments with significant implications for Scottish society. It is a tempting story to present the positive developments in women's role as the product of feminist activism. That activism has played a part but we need to look to the structural changes in the economy for the primary causal factors. Economic change presented new opportunities in the labour market. Women grasped them and employers used them. But these opportunities also presented a new set of dilemmas for men and women that are unlikely to be resolved positively without substantial intervention in the labour market. The challenge for Scotland is to continue the progress in women's educational and occupational achievements while creating the conditions for population renewal and also tackling the two extremes of under-representation in the top jobs and over-representation in some of the most poorly paid. The big question is whether these objectives can all be combined.