Are Things Really Getting Better? the Labour Market Experience of Black and Female Youth (1) at the Start of the Century

By Cregan, Christina | Capital & Class, Summer 2002 | Go to article overview

Are Things Really Getting Better? the Labour Market Experience of Black and Female Youth (1) at the Start of the Century


Cregan, Christina, Capital & Class


Introduction

The education and job chances of young people have been issues of crucial concern to successive British governments because, in the final decades of the last century, youth unemployment rates persisted at levels of over double that of the adult population and usually in the region of 20 per cent. The accompanying general increase in educational participation (2) was more pronounced for young blacks (Banks et al, 1992; Slade, 1992; Drew et al, 1992; Gray et al, 1994; Drew, 1995; Labour Market Trends, 1996) and young women (Gray and Sime, 1992; Gray et al, 1994; Labour Market Quarterly Report, May 1996) than their respective counterparts. By the start of the new century, the labour market position of these groups is thought to have improved substantially, in part because of this trend. There is some evidence, for example, that by the 1990s, some members of these groups had disproportionately benefited in terms of gaining educational qualifications and job opportunity (eg, Roberts 1995; Ainley, 1993; Tomlinson 1 997; McCrum, 1998). These conclusions have been generalised in the popular press. In particular, there is continuing public debate about the 'girls on top' phenomenon: for example, 'The Future is Female' (aac Panorama, 1994), 'Men aren't Working' (BBC Panorama, 1995), 'Grim Reading for Males' (Guardian, 1998a), 'Problems That Arise When Boys will be "Lads"' (Guardian, 1998b). Stephen Byers, then School Standards Minister in the Labour Government, lent political authority to current opinion when he argued that 'laddish' behaviour impeded boys' learning (Guardian, 1998b).

It is unsurprising, therefore, that while placing education as a 'key' priority, New Labour policy did not specifically target black and female youth. In a recent speech, the Education Secretary, David Blunkett, argued that university researchers should 'make their findings more accessible to government officials to help them deliver more effective policies' (Guardian 2000). The aim of this article, therefore, is to clearly present evidence that is counter-intuitive in that it debunks current beliefs. Instead, it incontrovertibly demonstrates that popular 'truths' conceal and belie the experience of the majority of black and female youths because they are based on analyses of the academically most successful and/or socially most advantaged. This paper is concerned with the majority: those who do not proceed to university, most of whom are from low-socio-economic backgrounds. It will be demonstrated that, by the beginning of the new century, the positions of most young blacks and women relative to their respec tive white and male equivalents, had not changed to any significant extent compared to the pre-Thatcher years. Indeed, for some young blacks it had worsened. This situation has major policy implications in terms of future labour market and educational reforms for a Government whose programmes have embraced a desire to help the poor and less able.

The method of enquiry is an analysis of different kinds of evidence. There have been several major on-going studies of young people conducted in Britain over the last three decades or so, such as the England and Wales Youth Cohort Surveys and the Scottish Young People's Surveys. Pertinent results will be examined along with other important literature. The data is contextual, quantitative and qualitative. It includes case studies, econometric findings, official statistics and legislative details. The analysis will be categorised according to explanatory theme. The article will be organised in the following way. First, the arguments will be introduced. Second, empirical findings will be discussed: illustrating the educational and labour market patterns of these groups and then supporting the themes of the arguments. A tabular summary of some of the results will be presented for purposes of clarification. Finally conclusions and policy implications will be drawn.

Racial and gender groupings will be dealt with separately for clarity's sake, though black females, say, will be represented in both types (3).

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Are Things Really Getting Better? the Labour Market Experience of Black and Female Youth (1) at the Start of the Century
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.