Men and women are now legally equally within the UK and most western countries, and are mostly equal in the world of work. There are roughly 14.5 million of both men and women currently employed. However, difference still exist simnifically in things such as distribution of occupation and pay. Hakim (1979) refers to the notion that were are two separate work forces; male and female. He explains that they do different roles primarily and this in turn prevents competition and therefore a conflict between the two sexes.
This segregation occurs on two ground: “Horizontal segregation” and “Vertical segregation”. Horizontal segregation refers to men and women doing different jobs whereas vertical segregation refers to men and women have different roles within the same field of work but they occupy different levels. According to Official Statistics (Gender pay gap – GOV.UK, 2017) regarding horizontal segregation, within the public sector, male and female segregation is largely not present with figures such as 1.1% and 9.2% lower and most women and men are mostly represented in the civil service, education etc. On the other hand, the gap is immense in comparison in the private sector with figures such as 29% and 33% lower. Patterns of horizontal segregation exist as follows: woman are more likely to work in most jobs that involve constant inter-personal interaction, men are more likely to be self employed especially in job sectors such as construction, and woman are more likely to be part time workers.
There are some people who argue that this is biological. However, it should be noted that as society is developing and globalistion is becoming more prominent within our society, horizontal segregation is disappearing as: traditional male jobs are disappearing due to technological advances; there are many professional jobs such as medicine, law and teaching that are gender neutral and although the gender gap progress is slow, with financial services Boards 20 percent in 2016 and Executive Committees 16 percent in 2016 (Oliver Wyman, 2016). In terms of Vertical Segregation, women are significantly below women in terms of pay (Hakim 1979; cited by Blackburn., 2001, p. 516).
In 2017, for women working full time the average weekly wage stood at £13.18 which is 9.1% less than the average of £14.59 earned by men working full time. Despite this, the gender pay gap is now at the lowest seen since the Office for National Statistics’s survey began in 1997, when the gender wage gap stood 17.4 per cent (Kirk, 2017), which means that as a society we are progressing.