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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Women office workers in contrasting suburban centres Challis, Lynda Ann


Suburban employment centres have increasingly become major workplaces for suburban women without consideration of the specific requirements of these workers. This thesis examines the ability of suburban employment centres to respond to the particular needs of women employees by analyzing the relationship between the Greater Vancouver Regional District's (GVRD) objectives for suburban centres and the needs of women office workers. This thesis includes case studies of female workers at suburban firms located in Burnaby and Richmond, British Columbia. The research points to the specific considerations that can contribute to providing women with employment opportunities in a quality working environment. The thesis stresses the necessity for including a gender perspective in urban research, such as the suburbanization of offices and employment. Background information on the GVRD's Livable Region Program and Regional Town Centres strategy is provided, including a description of their objectives, successes and weaknesses, particularly as they pertain to suburban office workers. The growth of suburban offices and employment, and specifically, the development and characteristics of the Burnaby and Richmond town centres are also presented. The empirical research involved interviews of women working in suburban offices in Burnaby and Richmond to establish their actions, perceptions and expectations regarding their office location. The interview responses indicated that there is as much similarity and difference between the women working in Burnaby and Richmond, as there is between those working in town centre and non-town centre locations. Many of the women placed greater emphasis on the type of work than on the location of the office and its relationship to transit, services and amenities. Generally, most women only wanted basic amenities (banking, postal services and a convenience store) and a pleasant, relaxing environment. The findings from the interviews are analyzed in accordance with the objectives of the GVRD's Livable Region Program and Regional Town Centres strategy. Recommendations are made for ensuring that the GVRD's objectives are more cognizant of the requirements of women office workers.

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