Precarious work and Gender

Paraskevopoulou, Anna (2015) Precarious work and Gender. In: The 33rd International Labour Process Conference 2015, 13-15 April 2015, Athens, Greece.

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The focus of this paper is the position of economically disadvantaged female workers in the labour market. Sheen (2010) argued that lack of security and poor quality jobs were the main factors that drove women to precarity while neoliberal policies for market flexibility contribute to limited chances for escape. Various studies such as the 2010 European Parliament report on Precarious women workers or the 2011 Oxfam International and the European Women’s Lobby documents, indicate that women are more likely to be affected by precarious work conditions, work as involuntary part-time workers, experience more discrimination in the labour market and rising levels of poverty, and face reduced access to services and rising levels of domestic violence due to cuts in support services. The recent economic crisis has intensified these problems and further weakened the position of women workers in and outside the workplace. The paper will utilise data from two European Commission funded studies on precarious work and social rights and on trade union responses towards equality and diversity in Europe, as well as from secondary sources such as the ETUC 8th of March 2014 survey which addressed the issue of violence against women. The first part of the paper will explore the question of why gender is being identified as a predictor of precariousness by examining particular characteristics associated with precarious work: women with children, particularly in the case of single parents; part-time work; low levels of skills; low pay; and working in female-dominated sectors. The second part of the paper will consider the work of the trade unions across Europe in supporting equality and anti-discrimination policies. As agents of equality trade, unions can play a dual role through their internal structures and externally through general campaigning and negotiations with employers. The main argument of the paper will be that legislation alone is not enough to tackle discriminations but it is important to look at the social structures and mechanisms that reproduce it and examine the role of social actors in this effort.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Keywords: Precarious work, Gender
Faculty: ARCHIVED Lord Ashcroft International Business School (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Dr Anna Paraskevopoulou
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2018 14:17
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 16:15

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