Analysis of values with respect to equality Essay Example
Analysis of values with respect to equality Essay Example

Analysis of values with respect to equality Essay Example

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  • Pages: 9 (2425 words)
  • Published: December 5, 2017
  • Type: Essay
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"Careers Education and guidance is a profoundly political process. It operates at the interface between the individual and society, between self and opportunity, between aspiration and realism.

It facilitates the allocation of life chances. Within a society in which such life chances are unequally distributed, it faces the issue of whether it serves to reinforce such inequalities or to reduce them. " (Watts, 1996:351) There are clearly two schools of thought in response to this quote.The first is 'reinforcement of inequalities' with supporting views by Roberts (1968) who suggested that the "momentum and direction of school leavers' careers are derived from the way in which their job opportunities become cumulatively structured and young people are placed in varying degrees of social proximity, with different ease of access to different types of employment" (Roberts, 1968:179). The second view is conce


rned with 'reduction of inequalities' which is supported by the ICG Code of Ethics.The first principle full members must adhere to is 'Equality of Opportunity' stating "Promotion of equality of opportunity for all and the determination to work towards the removal of the barriers to personal achievement resulting from prejudice, stereotyping and discrimination" (ICG Code of Ethics, 2005:1) Having outlined two differing approaches to equality in careers counselling this paper will attempt to deliver a reflective analysis using personal experiences to explain how my attitudes have moved from one school of thought to the other.

This paper will attempt to analyse these experiences and how they have ultimately impacted my professional practice in a careers guidance role. The discussion will begin by firstly, outlining local policies and national legislations, secondly, reflecting on values held by the author an

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the impacts on personal interviewing skills and thirdly, discussing how the author ensures appropriate and effective guidance is provided. The paper will then conclude by summarising the main points made. So what is equal opportunity? Equal Opportunities seek to influence behaviour through legislation so that discrimination is prevented. It is based on moral and ethical arguments and is concerned with promoting the rights of all members in society" (Government office for London).

In contrast to Equal Opportunities "Diversity concentrates on the difference of individuals. Managing Diversity is based on the economic and business case for recognising and valuing difference, rather than the moral case for treating people equally" (Government office for London).To put equal opportunities into context Dover District Council (2006:4) clearly outlines its rationale behind equal opportunities legislation which comes in the form of Legal (legislation), Corporate (information required under the Best Value Performance Indicators), Civic (responsibilities to all sections of the community through its provision of public services) and Managerial (essential to employ the best people to run its services).Major provisions of equal opportunities therefore include the following legislative acts; Sex Discrimination 1975, Equal Pay Act 1970, Race Relations Act 1976, Race Amendment Act 2000, Disability Discrimination Act 1995, Gender Recognition Act 2004 and many more. It is generally agreed that a good understanding of issues around equality of opportunity is a pre-requisite for effective guidance.For example taking the issue around gender, according to the National Guidance Research Forum "50% of the population aged 16-64 are women, yet, average hourly earnings for women working full-time are 18% lower, and for women working part-time are 40% lower, than for men working full-time.

These are

just two indications that the gender divide in the UK still exists" (National Guidance Research Forum, 2008).Jenny Bimrose has made much contribution to this area of study, "Theories that inform current practice in the UK were primarily formulated to explain the career development of men. Women's career development is, however, generally different from men. It is often more complex e. g. conflict between work and family.

.. " (Career Theory for Women, 2006). With the inadequacies of current theories a further 5 theories are being evolved which specifically respond to the needs of women.These are 'Gottfredson's Theory of Circumscription and Compromise', 'Astin's Need-Based Sociopsychological Model', 'Career self-efficacy theory' (Hackett and Betz), 'Feminist Careers Counselling' and finally 'Farmer: Diversity and Women's Career Development'. Gottfredson's Theory of Circumscription and Compromise will be discussed in more detail later on.

The next section of this paper seeks to reflect upon my own personal values and the impact of these values on my interviewing skills.Being both Indian and female I have faced multiple stereo typical attitudes throughout my life, none of which have set me back. Some of the memories that come to mind include the attitude of school teachers who assumed I would choose typical female subjects such as 'Child Care', friends at University would assume I would have an arranged marriage and some community members shocked by my decision to complete a postgraduate diploma when I should be concentrating on getting married and having children! Being brought up in a modern Indian family has been surprising for some people.Having had parents who never got the chance to study due to poverty, they brought my sister and myself up to

reach our full potential, to study as much as we wanted and to enter a career of our own choice. In this respect I was/am exclusion to the rule of habitus (Bourdieu's 1977). Family life growing up increasingly saw my mother take on more financial responsibility at home due to my father getting ill with cancer.

She became the breadwinner and her character changed to become more assertive, dominant and confident.Through social learning these qualities have been instilled within me, consequently making me a headstrong individual. I see myself to be a powerful woman who can achieve anything if I put my mind to it. My internal locus of control very much attributes outcomes of events to my own. Locus of control is an idea formulated within the framework of Rotter's (1954) social learning theory of personality. Lefcourt (1976) defines perceived locus of control in the following way, "Perceived control is defined as a generalised expectancy for internal as opposed to external control of reinforcements" (Lefcourt 1976, p27).

In respect to social identity theory, which is a theory formed by Henri Tajfel and John Turner, to understand the psychological basis of inter-group discrimination, I fell into a minority social group of liberated Indian females who had a strong internal locus of control. As positive as this attitude maybe I have often found myself fall victim to the social identity theory, seeing a favorable bias towards the group to which I belonged. I was often unable to sympathise with women who felt under pressure to make career decisions based around their gender.Upon entering the guidance profession I was extremely encouraged by ICG's efforts to reduce inequalities and

was a firm supporter of this school of thought.

Although more recently certain encounters with clients have exposed me to the realities faced by many women daily. The first experience that set me on a reflective journey was when a client came to see me who wanted to apply for a highly competitive engineering graduate training scheme. She explained to me her concerns about being rejected on the grounds of her sex.I told her not to worry and that there were legislations in place to protect her.

I thought she was being unproductive worrying about this and I was more concerned about getting her prepared for her application; after all, she had sufficient to be considered. I was therefore shocked to find out that my client had not even got through the first round selection. As the university, at which I worked, was account managing this particular employer I was able to get some feedback on how our students had done.The employer made an 'off the record comment' about how he wanted to take on a 'young lad' who would fit into the organisation.

I was shocked. I tried my best attempts at re-educating the client but he was non responsive. The implications of our own equal opportunity policy, which is "fully committed to ensuring equality of opportunity... as a provider of services (Coventry University) meant we would no longer promote this clients opportunity.

This was the first of many incidents I was to witness gender discrimination.Although it was not my direct behaviour that resulted in this client being rejected for the job, it was partly my ignorance that failed to prepare her for the

type of industry she was looking to enter. My ignorance or lack of understanding may have given her false hopes of an ideal world but the truth is discrimination does go. It would have been unprofessional to have admitted to this but it would have helped my client had I taken her concerns more seriously.

Upon reflection I should have also been mindful that as a women myself my client may have had expectations from me to be more sympathetic, although this can be an area for debate. The implications of the employers prejudice coupled with my ignorance resulted in my client nearly giving up her career aspirations and settling for a career considered by society to be fitting for a female, derived from her knowledge of the group she felt she belonged to and thus both highlighting complex social identity (Duszak, 2002: 378) and continuing the viscous cycle of discrimination in its purest sense.After this event I did some of my own and was surprised by what I found. One area of study which I found extremely interesting was that published by Routledge, part of the Taylor & Francis Group. In 2000 a surge of money went into attracting more women into the construction industry as a result of the major skill shortages at that time. Although the number of women representing this industry grew, evidence suggested that career progression for women in this industry was extremely difficult.

The research used a primarily qualitative methodology which relies on the reasons behind various aspects of behavior. In essence it investigates the why and how, in contrast to the what, where, and when of quantitative research. The outcome

of this analysis was the formulation of the set of eight interrelated theoretical models, from which a theory of women's career development was constructed. The theory found that the "construction workplace is a competitive and conflictual environment, where women are overtly and covertly discriminated against by men.

..The paper puts forward the radical proposition that women should not be attracted to the industry unless steps are taken to moderate its exclusionary and discriminatory culture" (Bagilhole, 2000:250) So as a result of these experiences how do I now ensure that both appropriate and effective guidance is provided? After being exposed to some of these discriminatory incidents my interviews slowly began to take into consideration more and more the social proximity and ease of entering a particular career. Some may consider this to be reinforcing inequalities but I believe this to be an extreme view.

In actual fact the strategy I have adopted is to use language and factual labour market information to clearly explain any challenges that a client may face but equally advising them on ways to overcome these barriers. This applies to all types of discrimination, not just gender. I believe that all clients are entitled to open and honest advise. Another strategy I now use adopts some of the principles of Gottfredson's Theory of Circumscription and Compromise, which is concerned with both the content of career aspirations and how they are develop.It suggests that career choice reflects the process of attempting to implement ones preferred self concept and in addition proposes that an individual's career satisfaction depends on the match with the self-concept (Gottfredson and Lapan, 1997). In practice this means more exploration and more

realism, in particular, "why certain options seem to be out of the question or why some compromises are more acceptable or accessible than others and by encouraging clients to re-examine the full range of occupations in the economy (challenging circumscription)" (Career Theory for Women, 2006).

I now also have more pro-active attitude in gaining feedback on interviews by inviting fellow colleagues to sit into one to one and group sessions. I also keep abreast of new legislations and changing policies that could impact and shape practice and keep regular notes of what I have accomplished monthly and what areas I require further help or support, which can be highlighted during appraisals. However as a professional I must also understand my own boundaries and the extent to which I can make a difference.This is highlighted by the Institute of Career Guidance positional paper on Gender Equality, which was a response to accusations that career guidance steers individuals into gender stereotypical jobs. The ICG's response to this can be summarised in the following statement "In recent years, some significant reports .

.. have emphasised the key role of career guidance in steering individuals into stereotypical gendered jobs. Yet research evidence highlights how a number of influences affect career choice, with career guidance being just one that shapes career decisions.It is therefore both inaccurate and misleading for career guidance to be blamed for the failure to break down the multiple barriers that need to be overcome by individuals wishing to enter non-traditional occupations.

" (Gender Equality through Careers Guidance). So what conclusions can be drawn? This paper began by identify two clear schools of thought, one serves to reinforce inequalities

and the other to reduce them. My upbringing and social learning meant that my understanding around some of the discriminatory behaviours faced by women was limited.My locus of control was high and I had a bias towards my own social group. When I initially joined the career guidance profession I was a firm supporter of reducing inequalities and ensuring that my interviewing technique encouraged all people to enter any profession without age, race, ethnicity or gender being a factor.

However not long into my career I encountered discriminatory behaviour towards women. These experiences coupled with research reinforced the need to adapt my interviewing skills to ensure that I made available any necessary information that the client may require in order to overcome obstacles.The use of language and factual labour market information can be used here to ensure as a practitioner you are not breaking any professional codes of ethic. There is a fine line and I still continue to conduct research and gain regular feedback on my own interviewing techniques to ensure I get the balance right. Career guidance practitioners play only a small part in trying to break down these multiple barriers and practitioners need to understand their own capabilities, professional boundaries and limits in a world where discrimination continues to occur, directly and indirectly.

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