Constructing women's disadvantaged position in the labor market : with reference to the employees retraining scheme in Hong Kong

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Constructing women's disadvantaged position in the labor market : with reference to the employees retraining scheme in Hong Kong

 

Author: Lui, Ka-wai
Title: Constructing women's disadvantaged position in the labor market : with reference to the employees retraining scheme in Hong Kong
Year: 1999
Subject: Women -- Employment -- China -- Hong Kong
Occupational retraining -- China -- Hong Kong
Women -- China -- Hong Kong -- Social conditions
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Applied Social Studies
Pages: 233, [18] leaves ; 30 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b1484713
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/1440
Abstract: A diversified studies to explore women's employment situations have been conducted and launched. No matter how detailed these studies are, women are viewed as passive puppets stripped by structural constraints. Though not necessarily intentional, conclusions of these studies connote that unemployment is caused by women's own fault. This is due to the fact that they failed to fulfill demands from both their families and jobs. Nevertheless, the fact that, as an individual and an active agent, women have independent thinking, whose trends of thoughts, struggle and resistance are seldom made manifested. In a changing economic environment like Hong Kong, some women actively try to alter the fate of being laid off and unemployed by enhancing their competitiveness through participating in the Employees Retraining Scheme. In fact, 80 per cent of the scheme participants are female. Though they have different employment outcomes and experiences after joining the Scheme, their perceptions towards labor market positions are shaped. The experience they got is very useful for understanding how employment structures and individual agents interact reciprocally. This study shows how the Employees Retraining Scheme plays a part in constructing women's employment situations. The Scheme aims at assisting the unemployed to re-enter the labor market by equipping them with some vocational and social skills. Though it helped more than 70 per cent of the participants to re-employment, their new employment situation is generally unsatisfactory. Many of them have had to accept lower pay and poorer job status. Moreover, findings also show that retraining experiences degraded women participants' job expectations. Participation in retraining is then associated with a lowering of self-esteem and a compromise with the reality. The Retraining Scheme cannot alleviate women's unemployment problems, but in turn puts them into disadvantageous labor market positions. It is thought that if the Scheme is constantly blind to women's familial considerations and their unequal treatments encountered in the employment structure, plus the fact that the social services and institutional efforts are inadequate in the support of working women, any added effort to tackle women's unemployment problem will remain in vain. The study chiefly adopts a qualitative method in order to manifest the interactive processes among women as individuals, the Retraining Scheme and the employment structures. Through in-depth interviews with fifteen middle-aged female graduates of various retraining programs, I tried to show how their individual experiences, struggles, resistance, feelings and perceptions during and after retraining which changed them in a way they interact with the structured environment. Documentary reviews and unstructured sharing groups held in retraining settings also serve as a more detailed record for the context of this study. Apart from examining only structural aspects, this study also addresses women as individual agents, whose thoughts, perceptions and acts are important elements in constituting and reproducing a social phenomenon.

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