Feminism and Workplace Flexibility
Yale Law School Faculty Scholarship Series
21 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2018
Date Written: March 18, 2018
Recently Professors Schultz and Hoffman argued that, in order to achieve gender equality at work and at home, scholars and policy makers should consider adopting measures to bring the weekly working hours for both employees who work very long hours at one full-time job and employees who work fewer than full-time hours at one or more jobs into closer convergence toward a more reasonable, family-friendly mean. Today, changed economic conditions have made the idea of a reduced, or reorganized, work week a rational, pragmatic solution to a pressing problem, rather than the politically impractical idea it seemed to be just a few years ago. Yet, few feminists have embraced the idea; most seem committed to a campaign for workplace flexibility that opts for enhancing individual choice for employees, mainly women, as opposed to instantiating a new set of universal norms that could benefit everyone. In this Article, Professor Schultz considers the key differences between the recent flexibility agenda and a broader program to restructure working time. She concludes that the flexibility agenda is not inevitably at odds with the larger goal of achieving gender equality but, absent vigilance, flexibility has the potential to undermine equality in both the short and the long run.
Keywords: Feminism, Workplace, Employment Law
JEL Classification: J00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation