The issue of stratification is deeply embedded within organisational structures. These structures are often highly opaque, and thus it is difficult for legal and social pressure to be brought to bear to change these structures. This is demonstrated by Manning and Swaffield (2008, p. 983) who show that “in the UK the gender pay gap on entry to the labour market is approximately zero but ten years after labour market entry, there is a gender wage gap of almost 25 log points” resulting in a wage gap of around 16% between men and women aged 30 in the UK. This thus demonstrates that women are generally not placed at an initial disadvantage when compared to men when accessing the labour market, and can usually obtain the same job for the same wage on labour market entry, thus meeting legal criteria around equal recruitment practices. However, it also shows that women fall behind men in terms of pay and role equality as their careers progress. This is often held to be a result of discrimination against women, however other arguments have been put forward holding that women often choose to accept jobs with a lower salary and reduced levels of work pressure, out of a desire to avoid engaging in aggressive competition for top jobs and higher wages (Millar, 2003). This is particularly the case for high-pressure employment such as commercial law, where the top male lawyers often earn up to twice as much as the top female lawyers, but also work longer hours and take on a heavier caseload (McLeod-Roberts, 2011, p. 7). The literature is unclear around whether this is a personal choice on the part of women, or something, which is forced upon them by virtue of gender conceptions, which naturally give the top cases to the male lawyers who are seen as more aggressive and determined to win at all costs. It is also questionable whether women choose less pressured jobs, or whether they are forced into them through issues such as a lack of childcare or supporting infrastructure.
Whilst the situation is complex in some organisations and industries, in others it appears much simpler, but dominated by men. French and Strachan (2009; 2015) examined the case of two male dominated industries, transport and construction, in Australia, a country with a firm equal opportunity legislation in place. The results of their analysis of the transport industry indicates "a correlation between some approaches to equal opportunity and increased numbers of women in some areas", but a lack of involvement of women in management or senior roles regardless of the equal opportunity initiatives implemented (French and Strachan, 2009, p. 78). In contrast, there is no evidence of engagement with equal employment issues in the construction industry as women are employed on individual basis without institutional commitment to equality between the genders, leading to few women being involved in senior roles in the industry (French and Strachan, 2015). This somewhat reflects Konrad and Linnehan's (1995) finding that the human resources management (HRM) structures can either be 'identity-conscious' or 'identity-blind'. Of these, the identity-blind structures support discrimination by failing to consider the disadvantages women may face, and thus identity-conscious structures are needed to support the employment status of women and other disadvantaged groups, particularly in highly gendered industries. This underlines the importance of rejecting a gender neutral approach to equal opportunity, particularly in industries which are already characterised by strong gender bias or inequality.
Women health in the Saudi Arabian society