“Gender justice at the top is not enough. Mainstream debates on gender must also grapple with how to address increased insecurity at the bottom end of the labor market — including the challenge faced by poorly protected, self-employed women,” states the report, “Great Expectations: Exploring the Promises of Gender Equality,” as it wrestles with the question of whether the triumphs of British feminism (such as they are) have been equally shared by women of all classes. As the New York Times comments:
“The report wonders why we persist in looking at a few outrider women at the top of the professional ladder instead of analyzing the fate of a more representative cross-section of women. It highlights how excessive focus on the few empowered women who have succeeded can have a disturbing “decoy” effect, suggesting that women have made it, while ignoring the fact that for the vast majority of women, huge inequalities remain.
“Dalia Ben-Galim, an associate director at the institute, said: “While feminism has delivered for some professional women, other women have been left behind. Many of the advances for women at the top have masked inequality at the bottom. The ‘break-the-glass-ceiling’ approach that simply promotes ‘women in the boardroom’ has not been as successful in changing family-friendly working culture or providing opportunities for other women to advance.”