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Session Overview
RN17_01b_H: Recognition and Inclusion at the Labour Market - on the Matter of Gender and Age
Wednesday, 30/Aug/2017:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Ylva Ulfsdotter Eriksson, University of Gothenburg
Location: HA.2.5
HAROKOPIO University 70 El. Venizelou Street 17671 Athens, Greece Building: A, Level: 2.

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Individual perspective on the occupational prestige and gender discrimination on the labour market

Olga Anna Czeranowska

University of Warsaw, Poland

Occupational prestige is one of the classic research topics in the sociology of work and labour. However, there are some methodological problems still unsolved. The most important of them is defining the concept of prestige. Other important issue is the “invisibility of gender” in the research on occupational prestige – questionnaires relate to the occupational group as a whole, without differentiating prestige of male and female incumbents.

In the research for my PhD thesis I decided to focus on the individual perspective and describe experiences of members of high prestige occupational groups. My second goal was to elaborate social definition of occupational prestige. Differences between men and women on the labour market and gender discrimination were included in my research plan as a horizontal problem.

In order to obtain complex answers for my research questions I used triangulation of data, sources and methods. I chose explanatory research design: qualitative research was used to explain and deepen initial findings obtained by using quantitative methods. First stage of my research included quantitative media analysis, auditory questionnaire and desk research. Results enabled me to elaborate methodology of the second, quantitative stage – individual in-depth interviews with members of high prestige occupational groups. Interviews were analyzed with the use of methodology inspired by systematic text condensation, which enabled me to discover different meanings of occupational prestige in biographies of men and women. I was also able to elaborate a social definition of prestige which is based on binary oppositions.

Gender Imbalance in IT Sector: The Case of Taiwan


University of Kang Ning, Taiwan

Since the early 20th century, the labor participation rate of women in many developed countries has increased. However, many scholars have found that women often face gender segregation in a way that women are less likely to take jobs requiring high professional competence. As information technology (IT) industry blooms in recent decades, the relatively lower percentage of female employees in this industry has been particularly intriguing given that the first computer programmer was a woman, the mathematician and writer—Ada Lovelace. Although Taiwan, one of the economic entities that invests heavily in IT sector, has emphasized on the technology development and talents cultivation in this field, there has been a lack of research into women’s under representation. Previous studies examining gender imbalance in IT industry have mostly either adopted essentialist or social constructionist theories, and attributed the imbalance to female characteristics or work environment and culture. Whereas the essentialist approach simplified the gender imbalance problem and seen it as the result of gender differences, the social constructionist approach failed to take women’s different reactions to the environment into account. Accordingly, this study adopted Trauth’s “individual differences theory of gender and IT” and a mixed-methods approach by using both quantitative data from Taiwan’s Manpower Survey and in-depth interviews with 22 female and 8 male employees in IT sector. The research findings showed that women were underrepresented in Taiwan’s IT sector, especially in management jobs. The gender imbalance started from education and was associated with patriarchal culture and work-family conflicts. Unless these issues are addressed, gender inequality in pay and the promotion opportunities found in the analysis suggests a persistence of gender imbalance in future.

Split consciousness: Workers' representatives and social justice

Gadi Nissim

Ruppin Academic Center, Israel

Unions' stewards at the workplace level are characterized by a split political consciousness rather than comprehensive one. They express egalitarian motivations and class solidarity, but this tendency remains local and limited in scope.

This paper is part of a larger study of the activity of unions' stewards in twenty different corporations in Israel. Based on a qualitative research, I demonstrate that while stewards make their organizational decisions at the workplace, these are often not consistent with their broader political views. For example, Jewish stewards have sought the political support of their Palestinian co-workers in the organization while disregarding the wider political implications of this endeavor in light of the general Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Similarly, stewards may express anti-neoliberal views, but at the same time they maintain their political support of the Israeli right because of its hard policy towards the Arab.

The findings imply that political consciousness and sense of social justice tend to be diverse among unions' stewards. The egalitarian motivation and class solidarity are often confined to face-to-face interaction at the workplace. Moreover, class egalitarianism and solidarity are repeatedly overshadowed by contradictory stronger commitment to separatist views regarding nationality, religion and more. Similar tendency may occur in other countries while the internal organizational dynamics are subjected to other external forces (such as mass immigration and economic turbulence).

The opportunity to be outsiders: minimum income scheme beneficiaries engaged in public works

Silvia Girardi1,2, Roland Maas1, Valeria Pulignano2

1LISER, Luxembourg; 2KU Leuven - Centre for Sociological Research Employment (Industrial) and Labour Market Studies, Belgium

Following the literature on labour market insiders/outsiders, we challenge the view that labour market integration inevitably leads to social inclusion. We argue that labour market integration does not imply necessary a subjective experience of social inclusion.

We ground this claim on in-depth qualitative interviews with people on a minimum income scheme who are engaged in public works in return for their welfare benefit. The interviews focus on the perception of their occupation and we analyse them looking at how work insecurity manifests in their lives. These are a group of peculiarly vulnerable people which have been assigned to work experience programmes by the social assistance service provider (e.g. case workers), usually in the public or non-profit sector, as they are considered unable to participate to the labour market unless provided with a sheltered occupation. This specific group of workers is very little studied in the debate on insiders/outsiders and, therefore, we shed light on their job insecurity and investigate their outsiderness condition with regards to their participation both to the labour market and society.

Although the main narrative of policy makers and social workers on these kind of jobs rhetorically stresses their role as an opportunity for beneficiaries, our research outlines that 1) those work programmes display a whole range of characteristics associated to precarious jobs such as the temporary duration and low level of protection and employment rights; 2) subjectively, some workers experience both an high level of insecurity and forms of disrespect from co-workers.

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