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Gender and productivity

Integrating equality into the productivity agenda is essential for a medium to long-term strategy for raising productivity that aims at improving well-being for all, according to a major new report.

The research paper from The Productivity Institute, which is based at Alliance Manchester Business School, argues that not doing so risks the development of an increasingly polarised and dysfunctional society. 

The paper, entitled Gender and productivity, is authored by Professor Jill Rubery, Executive Director of the Work and Equalities Institute (WEI) based at AMBS, Research Associate Isabelle Bi, and Professor Anthony Rafferty, Managing Director of WEI.


They argue that the transition to a more gender equal society requires action on three fronts. Firstly, changes to the way work is organised in the workplace and the home to enable women to make full use of their talents. Secondly, changes to pay structures to ensure women’s work is appropriately valued and rewarded. And thirdly, via greater investment in support for working parents. 

The paper also provides policy recommendations for improving women’s access to employment and skill development and revaluing women’s work, and also says men’s support is key. 

Professor Rubery said: “Although growth has been boosted by women’s increased commitment to employment and by their investment in education, the changes needed to allow women to realise their potential in the labour market have yet to be made. Without action to realise women’s productivity and properly reward their work, the UK’s low productivity problem will not be solved.”

Research project

The authors are currently working on The Productivity Institute research project Gender, part-time work and job polarisation: the productivity risks, which this paper is part of. The project examines how more flexible forms of working, including part-time work and new forms of work post-COVID, impact on both gender equality and the UK’s productivity trajectory.