'Women's Work' Is Still Confined to Limited Choice; EQUAL OPPORTUNITY: 'Beyond Stereotyping - the Vision for Wales' Conference Exposes Inequality

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Byline: DARREN DEVINE

MOST women are confined to 10 different jobs with poor career prospects and pay lagging behind their male counterparts.

Gender stereotypes are as strong as ever with women concentrated in sales, teaching, nursing and secretarial work, a conference in Llandudno was told yesterday.

Also jobs as check-out operators, clerks, cashiers, carers, caterers, childcare workers and cleaners are also female-dominated.

Beyond Stereotyping - the Vision for Wales heard that of 77 occupations female employment tends to be concentrated in these 10 different occupations.

Up to 60.5pc of all female workers can be found in one of these 10 occupations, the majority of which are poorly paid with little or no career prospects.

Conference organisers, Chwarae Teg, which promotes women in the workplace, said 90pc of hairdressers and 97pc of child care workers are women. Helen Adams famously raised the profile of hairdressers when she finished second on Big Brother.

Dr Olwen Williams, The Western Mail's Woman of the Year for the year 2000, said although 65pc of newly-qualified doctors are women, many will quickly hit the glass ceiling.

Dr Williams, who is a manager at two North Wales hospitals said, "Only 22pc of consultants are female."

On average a hairdresser is paid around pounds 5.23 an hour, compared with pounds 7.58 for construction workers, more than 99pc of whom are men.

Chwarae Teg chief executive Ruth Marks said, "The idea that has been promoted over the past few decades is that you can do anything you want.

"But the complexities of culture, history and custom and practice restricts the choices."

Ms Marks said gender stereotyping is still reinforced in education from an early age as children's text books still present conventional images of male and female roles. …