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‘Black Boxes’ and ‘fracture points’: the regulation of gender equality in the UK and French construction industries

Robert Ackrill, Valerie Caven and Jamila Alaktif ()

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Abstract: Gender equality was a founding principle of the European Union (EU) and has remained on its policy agenda ever since, yet delivery of policy goals has been uneven across countries and economic sectors. We draw on theoretical and empirical literatures from human resource management and policy science to explore EU gender equality initiatives and their enactment within one sector which has seen virtually no improvements in gender-based employment equality: construction. To help understand the possible reasons for this, we compare practice and experiences in two countries; the UK and France. In both, the construction industry remains resolutely male-dominated, with women employed primarily in support and administrative roles. We deploy the concept of Europeanisation, to provide an analytical framework to understand the potential gaps between policy goals and on-the-ground implementation, whilst a comparative approach allows us to see if different national approaches to EU policy implementation can help explain these policy failures. We identify three potential ‘fracture points' where breaks in policy transmission and enactment may occur: between the EU and national levels; between the national and industry levels; and within the industry itself. We identify areas for further research, where unpacking the ‘Black Boxes' of policy development and industry practices, can help more effective policy-targeting to deliver policy goals on gender equality.

Keywords: construction industry; UK; France; EU gender policy; gender equality; Europeanisation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017-02-03
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Published in International Journal of Human Resource Management, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2017, ⟨10.1080/09585192.2016.1277366⟩

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DOI: 10.1080/09585192.2016.1277366

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