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Gender employment discrimination: A comparison between the banking sectors of Kuwait and the United Kingdom

Rahaf Adel, Ahmad Alqatan
Corporate Board role duties and composition , Volume 15, pp 43-57; doi:10.22495/cbv15i3art4

Abstract: Current literature has not examined gender employment issues in Kuwait’s banking industry. This is a key knowledge gap as many women are entering the sector and might be facing discriminatory conducts in comparison to their male colleagues. The scarcity of available literature regarding the Kuwaiti banking sector and its equality practices calls for more research attention to detect discriminatory conducts and improve governmental legislation. This paper builds an international comparison between Kuwait and Britain’s established discrimination legislation. It uses a primary qualitative research method within two of Kuwait’s private banks to address the following questions: firstly, what is the nature of implemented gender equality policies and practices within the banks? This includes patterns of gender segregation, recruitment and selection processes, promotional opportunities and gender pay gaps. And secondly, how do Islamic and conventional banks differ with regards to their equality practices and gender career opportunities? The findings of the study were similar within both Islamic and conventional banks. Results indicated a strong prevalence within Kuwait of social and cultural factors, which shape gender roles and ideologies. Occupational gender segregation and thus pay inequalities were found to be a distinct feature of the sector in both countries. And this was linked to long working hours cultures, the unbalanced load of domestic and care burden between males and females, as well as discretionary managerial practices for selection, hiring and promotions. The paper highlights key areas of improvements with regards to equality practices and legislative policy planning in Kuwait.
Keywords: GAP / gender / legislation / comparison / Banks / Kuwait / Males / sector / Builds / regards to equality

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