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The notion that ‘workers were men’ has dominated sociological research. It has been thought that men dominated the public sphere of paid work outside the home. While women participate in private unpaid work, such as child nurturing and reproduction. (3) However, it is important to consider what constitutes a ‘work environment’. For example, the 1991 census found 1.2 million people conduct paid work ‘mainly at home’. (4) It was further found that ‘two-thirds of all Call Centre workers are women’, Call Centres being one of the new environments often overlooked by sociologists. (Stamford 1999) (5). Consequently suggesting women do not simply fall under the ‘private work’ category.
Despite this, it has been found that women are seriously under-represented in positions of power. For example, in 2005 it was found only 19.5% of the Members of Parliament were women. (6) This is because women are subject to two hindering forms of discrimination; vertical and horizontal. The latter has been found by Crompton (1997) who applied Hutton’s (1995) model of the ’30:30:40’ society to females. She found that 30% of the female population were unemployed, much like males. A further 30% had insecure part time employment and 40% had part time or full time employment, unlike the male population of whom 30% had insecure full time employment and 40% had full time employment. (7)