The heterogeneity of women's preferences result in less coherence and a lack of conformity in relation to the development of social policy, a factor enabling the continuity of a patriarchal society supporting homogeneous men. This review will investigate trends in female employment patterns, in conjunction with Hakim's preference theory, identifying contrasting literature illustrating the limited applicability of the theory to liberal, modern societies, the instability of preferences over time, and the relevance of the theory to men.
Women are heterogeneous in their priorities on 'work-life conflict' and choice thereafter, as identified later in employment patterns (Hakim 2000:7). Polarization of female employment patterns intensifies with each generation and heterogeneous preferences are stable across the entire lifecycle. Hakim identifies three preference groups: 'home centred', 'work centred' and 'adaptive'. 'Home centred' women account for approximately 20%* of all women, characteristically their family life and children are consistently prioritized and as a consequence, these women prefer not to work. They are also responsive to social and family policies. Hakim controversially claims that this group of women obtain educational qualifications solely as 'intellectual dowry' (Hakim, 2000:6). Diametrically opposed 'work centred' women prioritise employment, they commit solely to work or equivalent activities, make larger investments in qualifications, are responsive to employment policies and make up a further 20%* of women. The remaining 60%* of the female population are classified as 'adaptive', they are diverse in their priorities often combining work and family, showing a lack lustre commitment to work despite having attained qualifications intended for future employment, these women are highly responsive to all policies. The third tenet of Hakim's preference theory is the conflicting interests between the three preference groups. The conflicting interests of women has enabled homogeneous men to institutionalise the social conventions which underpin patriarchal society, subsequently affecting women's employment patterns. The forth tenet is the discordant effects of conflicting interests on social engineering policies, resulting in detrimental effects for women in employment. According to Hakim (2000) these are the main determinants of female employment patterns (full time and part time) in the UK. Essentially the specific female employment patterns Hakim is referring to are the higher number of women in part time and/or lower positions, and the higher levels of job satisfaction despite the disproportionately high level of women in low level jobs.
The EOC (Equal Opportunity's Commission) provides data on employment patterns, and most interestingly, it highlights the change in trends from the 1970's. In Hakim's opinion the 'new scenario' emerged within this era (Hakim, 2000:2). The EOC shows a marked increase in the percentages of women in employment with dependent children, between 1973 and 2004 the figure increased from 47% to 66%. The overall number of women in employment has increased by over a third to 12.5 million in 2005. Women