Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Session Overview
RN14_09b: Gender and Intersectionality in Labour Markets/Welfare States
Friday, 23/Aug/2019:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Hazel Conley, University of the West of England
Location: UP.4.212
University of Manchester Building: University Place, Fourth Floor Oxford Road

Session Abstract

How intersections of class, race and gender shape opportunities and risks for women's participation in the labor market.

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“Just Take It Off, Where’s The Problem?” The Neoliberal Logic Of Intersectional Labour Market Discrimination Against Women Wearing Headscarves

Julia Schuster

Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria

Muslim women wearing headscarves who are seeking employment in western labour markets face intersectional discrimination based on gender and religion. This intersectional dynamic not only leads to decreased chances of finding a job, it also implies that the women’s experiences of discrimination are not acknowledged as such but rather explained as their own fault. This presentation is based on a qualitative thematic content analysis of 600 online comments posted in response to an Austrian online news article that reported scientific evidence of labour market discrimination against women wearing headscarves. The analysis examines how the commenters articulate explanations for the women’s labour market problems and solutions to them. By identifying the main narratives within those comments, I argue that neoliberal understandings of employers’ and employees’ individual choices are used to legitimise discriminatory practices. This strategy enables commenters to avoid openly islamophobic and/or sexist arguments as they approve the practice of not hiring women wearing headscarves. While intersectionality theory, in particular Kimberlé Crenshaw’s approach, helps identifying how this discrimination of Muslim women wearing headscarves is erased from the discourse as a problem that requires political attention, a feminist critique of neoliberal labour market logics needs to be included in the analysis in order to explain why this erasure is successful.

An Intersectional Analysis of UK Self-Employment in the Digital Era

Angela Martinez Dy1, Dilani Jayawarna2, Susan Marlow3

1Loughborough University London, United Kingdom; 2University of Liverpool, United Kingdom; 3Nottingham University Business School, United Kingdom

Emerging research suggests women are driving the rapid rise in UK self-employment in the contemporary era, in which the digitization of work in a period of economic crisis and recovery has transformed self-employment patterns. However, little is known about how self-employment entry and exit is subject to the intersecting effects of gender and race in labour markets. This paper uses Office of National Statistics Labour Force Survey data to quantitatively analyse changes in patterns of self-employment participation between 2007 and 2017. While women continue to predominate in the rapidly increasing part-time self-employed population, there has been a decline in the numbers of self-employed men and White British people, and a notable increase in the numbers of self-employed British women of colour, with Black British female self-employment more than doubling since 2007. This speaks not only to the lasting impact of the economic crisis on public sector employment, traditionally a key employer for women of colour, but also to the multi-dimensional inequality regimes in employment that constitute critical push factors into entrepreneurship for them. Contrary to typical expectations, the presence of young children is found to have a negative effect on female self-employment, except for single mothers, and women are more inclined to begin opportunity-driven as opposed to necessity-based businesses. These novel and surprising findings provide a theoretical and empirical foundation from which to explore how patterns of UK self-employment are changing in the digital age, and how intersectional structural forces contribute to the inflows and outflows of self-employment.

Underemployment vs. Relocation: Coping Mechanisms of Palestinian Women in Israel with Patriarchal and Spatial Impositions

Tal Meler

Zefat Academic College, Israel

In the past decade, rates of educated Palestinian women in Israel have increased. However, the corresponding increase in their rate of employment has been slower. The aim of the present study was to gain insight into the barriers that educated Palestinian women face in finding employment suitable for their training, the coping mechanisms they employ in their attempt to overcome these barriers, and factors that contribute to the selection of these coping mechanisms. Semi-structured interviews with educated Palestinian women revealed three coping mechanisms with the shortage of suitable employment: underemployment (working in low-paid, non-academic, involuntary part-time, temporary positions), retraining (in nursing or education), and relocation to southern Israel for employment. Barriers to suitable employment included lack of guidance, considerations unrelated to employment, limitations imposed by the patriarchal society, lack of patriarchal social networking, and poor contractual terms in training-related employment. These cultural and structural barriers represent the intersectionality of gender, class, and nationality, since they are related to the conservative nature of Palestinian culture and its extremely limited opportunity base, as well as the civil status and marginality imposed on Palestinians by political-economic processes. This study may help policymakers find ways to increase the percentage of Palestinian women working in their field of training in places with high prevalence of underemployment, and may also have implications on welfare policy that operates in the neoliberal context. Furthermore, this study underscores the importance of gender and intersectionality theories in the discussion of minorities in general and minority women in particular.

Postcolonial Feminism, Intersectionality And The Lived Experience Of The British Born Black Caribbean Female Nurse.

Beverley Helena Brathwaite

University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom

As a PhD student I identify myself as a British born black Caribbean women and nurse, therefore my need to find out how I and others like me identify themselves is the driver for this enquiry. There is a British colonial focus to my argument with a recognition of the historical and social relationship of British colonialism and the Caribbean through a postcolonial feminist lens. Intersectionality will also be utilised as a theoretical framework with which to see the gender and racial discrimination that occurs and the impact it has on being Black, of Caribbean heritage and female in Britain. This is what Crenshaw (2016) identifies as ‘double discrimination’; the simultaneous impact of sexism and racism that Black women experience. Post-colonial feminism also acknowledges the multifaceted nature of the Black women’s experience and how they are represented based on the oppression of colonialism and patriarchy, a ‘double colonialization’ (Holst Perterson and Rutherford, 1986). There is an obvious link between postcolonial feminism and intersectionality and to this end I scrutinise the importance that both play in examining the lived experiences of 5 BBBCFN who have been interviewed as my pilot study.

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