Gender, age and flexible working in later life

In many countries economic and social concerns associated with ageing populations have focused attention onto flexible forms of working as key to encouraging people to work longer and delay retirement. This article argues that there has been a remarkable lack of attention paid to the role of gender in extending working lives and contends that this gap has arisen because of two, inter-related, oversights: little consideration of relationships between gender and flexible working beyond the child-caring phase of life; and the prevailing tendency to think of end of working life and retirement as gender-neutral or following a typical male trajectory. The findings of a qualitative study of people aged 50+ in the UK challenge some of the key assumptions underpinning the utility of flexible work in extending working lives, and provide insight into the ways in which working in later life is constructed and enacted differently for men and women.

Source: Wendy Loretto, Sarah Vickerstaff. Work Employment & Society. April 2015, vol. 29, no 2, p. 233-249.

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