Formal opportunity, informal barriers: black women managers within a local authority

Liff, S and Dale, K (1994) Formal opportunity, informal barriers: black women managers within a local authority. Work, Employment and Society, 8 (2). pp. 177-198. ISSN 0950-0170

Full text not available from this repository.


This article examines the equal opportunities policies of a local authority which were intended to improve the representation of black women managers. It reports the types of initiatives and proportions of black women employed in different grades over time; and discusses the organisational context, contrasting the views of personnel and line managers, and EO specialists, with those of black women who had achieved senior positions. These latter accounts illustrated how inequalities were sustained despite, and at times in articulation with, an EO policy which was relatively successful in formal terms. Findings are discussed with reference to two criticisms made of EO policies: inadequate implementation, and a failure to redress the effects of social inequalities or challenge white, male work norms. The article suggests that increasing formal controls or the range of initiatives is insufficient: better ways of understanding and challenging the role of organisational structures, cultures and politics in sustaining inequality is needed.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Work, Employment and Society
Uncontrolled Keywords:
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
07 Jan 2010 15:23
Last Modified:
21 Nov 2022 19:41