Most of the research for this book was originally undertaken for the preparation of a thesis. Although a thesis is supposed to embody material of a publishable standard, the objectives of writing a thesis and a book often diverge. Usually the conflict arises because a thesis is expected to deal with important theoretical issues while a book is intended to appeal to a wider community of readers interested in the substantive but not necessarily the academic aspects of the subject. At the substantive level, my motivations for writing the thesis and the book are the same. I am a woman and an egalitarian. My feminism commits me to what Janet Radcliffe Richards calls ‘a sexually just society’ (The Sceptical Feminist, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1980). This is what made me want to find out about developments in and impediments to the political and economic emancipation of women. And this is what made me wish to try to convey to others the hopes, advances, frustrations, set-backs and possibilities that characterise one of the most important aspects of that story; women’s rights at work.
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