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Business School - Executive Office
Oxford Brookes Business School
+44 (0) 1865 482816
Headington, Clerici, CLC.G.20
Through Simonetta's research work on the impact of equal opportunities legislation in the workplace she developed an interest in human resource management and its interaction with the legislation. She has taught, researched, written and presented papers at national and international conferences on the subject of equal opportunities in employment and work-life balance issues.
Recently she has been invited by the CIPD to join a working group together with representatives of other major national employers to develop practical guidance for managers on how to deal with flexible working.
Women are under-represented in leadership roles in United Kingdom Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). Existing scholarship focuses on institutional barriers, which include cognitive bias and entrenched homosocial cultures, rather than external factors such as the use of executive search firms (ESFs) in recruitment and selection. Recent research indicates that the use of ESFs is increasing for senior HEI appointments. This analysis offers insights on these firms’ involvement from a gender equality perspective, based on the results from a study that used a ‘virtuous circle’ approach to research and knowledge exchange. The requirement for HEIs to pay ‘due regard’ to equality considerations under the Public Sector Equality Duty provides a framework for analysis. This paper provides new insights on the dynamics within recruitment processes when ESFs are involved and on how a legislative approach can leverage better equality outcomes.
This article considers how policy makers across Europe can meet the challenges of extending working lives, is a key element of the ‘Active Ageing’ agenda, whilst at the same time striking a balance between the interests of older workers, those of younger generations to access jobs and career opportunities, and the interests of employers in workforce planning. It examines the experience of the UK which removed mandatory retirement in October 2011 and argues that, viewed from a Marxist perspective, the developments in the UK have failed to strike the correct balance between the different interests at stake, and has instead taken a neo-liberal approach to the regulation of retirement. It then moves to consider retirement from an equalities perspective and suggests that retaining some form of regulation of the end of working lives can still meet the demands of equality. The final section discusses some proposals for reform.
– The overall purpose of the paper is to understand the barriers to women's progression to senior positions in universities. It aims to explore similarities and differences between the career experiences and leadership styles of men and women in middle‐ and senior‐level positions at one university. The ultimate aim is to identify interventions to help create a more equal gender balance at senior levels.
– A mixed methods approach was adopted. In‐depth interviews were conducted with a quota sample of 53 men and women in order to explore their lived career experiences. In addition, 50 questionnaires were received from the same sample in order to compare factual data about the participants' life histories and biographical circumstances.
– The findings show that women's human capital and career progression to date are at least equal to those of men and that this has been achieved without women sacrificing a holistic family life. They also show that there are still some important differences between men and women in the way they plan and manage their careers and the leadership style that they adopt.
– A five‐level framework is proposed which sets down the types of intervention that are required to create a more equal gender balance in senior positions. It is argued that this should be used to shape the gender equality schemes developed in universities under the Gender Equality Duty.
– The paper provides new evidence about the residual differences between men's and women's career experiences, even in an employment context, which is particularly supportive of women. It also makes a significant contribution to the debate about the gendered nature of leadership.
Simonetta Manfredi is a Professor in Equality and Diversity Management and Director of the Centre for Diversity Policy Research and Practice
Her recent research has focused on work-life balance, gender and age discrimination issues in the Higher Education workplace. Her work has been published in academic journals that included the Industrial Law Journal, Legal Studies, International Journal of Discrimination and the Law and Employee Relations, but also in practitioner-oriented publications. She has co-authored the award-winning article: Improving Women's Representation in Senior Positions in Universities, published by the international journal Employee Relations. This paper was named by the leading publisher Emerald Group Publishing as an outstanding paper award winner in their Literati Network Award for Excellence 2011. She is also co-author of Managing Equality and Diversity: Theory and Practice (Oxford University Press 2012).
She has led a number of research projects funded by organisations to include the European Commission, the former Department of Trade and Industry, the European Social Fund, the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, the Higher Education Funding Council and Equality Challenge Unit.
She has been an invited speaker at a number of national and international conferences and seminars held by a range of organisations which include CIPD, UNISON, the European Commission, and the Equality Challenge Unit.
Simonetta has also undertaken consultancy work in the area of equality and diversity management for a number of employers both in the public and private sector. She was appointed by the Italian Ministry of Employment as Equal Opportunity Adviser to the Province of Bologna (2001-2003). She is a qualified workplace mediator.