There are several reasons why it is informative to examine low pay in the context of female employment. First, there is the fact that, whatever definition of low pay one cares to adopt, women as a group predominate amongst this category of worker. This in turn means that any policy designed to improve the situation of the low paid worker is likely to have a disproportionate effect on the female workforce. Secondly, concern over problems of inequality of opportunity for the growing female labour force has led to the introduction in Britain, following the North American legislative pattern, of the Equal Pay Act in 1970 and the Sex Discrimination Act in 1975. Examination of the most disadvantaged section of the female labour force might, therefore, highlight problems relating to the adequacy of this legislation and equally enable some judgement to be made over the potential of such measures for reducing the numbers of low paid women. Thirdly, poverty is a problem which relates to family circumstances, and thus the role of married women, and more particularly single parent women, in relieving poverty through their participation in the labour force is clearly of some significance.
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P. J. Sloane
- Palgrave Macmillan UK
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