The importance of gender in local agreements on wage-equality and family/worklife – University of Copenhagen

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14 January 2013

The importance of gender in local agreements on wage-equality and family/worklife

Article by Trine P. Larsen

Over the past years, the Danish government and the different parties of the Danish labor market have initiated different actions in order to enhance wage-equality and ease the family/worklife-balance of the employees. The question is, however, if these initiatives have been implemented on the workplace-level.

Taking a study on union representatives in the area of the Danish Confederation of Trade Unions as starting point, this article highlights to what extent initiatives on wage-equality between the genders and family/worklife-balance, such as flexible working hours, paid paternity leave and paid leave when the employees have sick children, are discussed and negotiated in female- and male dominated workplaces respectively.

This article shows, that although family/worklife-balance often has first priority on the company agendas, the wage-equality rarely interest the parties in the local sector. It is in particular workplaces with the same share of men and women that discuss and negotiate these topics and where it leads to specific agreements. Furthermore, contrary to what one would stereotypically expect, the initiative in this kind of workplace often comes from a male union representative.

The article was brought in Kvinder, Køn og Forskning (Women, Gender & Research), No. 4, December 2012