By Angela Coyle, Jane Skinner

This publication appears to be like at women's reports of labor in seven diverse employment sectors. whereas highlighting the patience of male domination and supplying a platform usually denied for women's reports, it is going past latest books during this quarter via providing unique and useful options to construct on formal commitments to equality and giving ladies genuine strength.

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A different approach to positive action initiatives has beer developed in a county's social services department, where tht 'prime mover' was a female middle manager who used the 'assignment' opportunity provided by a management course to Jane Skinner and Celia Robinson 33 research the position of women in the agency setting. This was in the context of her local authority's new formal policy of being an equal opportunities employer. She then helped develop interest in her findings through informal talks with top managers of the agency.

Addressing equal opportunities at the level of the organisation Political decisions taken at the elected member level to devise and support EO policies is the 'top down' starting point for many local authorities. The adoption of an EO statement heralds the intention of an authority as an employer to examine its own organisation. The aim is to eliminate obvious structural bias by developing anti-discriminatory practices as a means of achieving equality of opportunity for employees and potential employees.

However the apparent gains made in terms of policy interventions at the expressedly political level can be transitory. A change in the political complexion of a local authority may signal the demise of women's committees and womens units. Ironically the obverse also holds, that is, that the existence of political will in itself is no guarantee that an EO policy will be wholly or partially implemented. It does not take a change in political control to rend asunder or dilute EO policies. The political world is so volatile and reputations can be made or lost by association with innovative policies.

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