Conference Agenda

RN14_06: Opportunity Structures
Thursday, 22/Aug/2019:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Susan Durbin, University of West of England
Location: UP.4.211
University of Manchester Building: University Place, Fourth Floor Oxford Road

Session Abstract

How policies shape opportunity structures for specific categories of the population.


Job Quality and Equality in Public Procurement: Proposing an Analytical Model (JoQuEPP)

Orly Benjamin1, Katharina Sarter2

1Bar Ilan University, Israel; 2University of South Wales

Organizations in Acker’s scholarship manifest as gender-neutral but reflect an assumed hierarchy. Likewise, public procurement procedures are perceived as gender neutral. The supposedly neutral economic transaction embedded in the procurement contract is in effect an economic transaction between an administrator, who focuses on costs, and a service deliverer, who focuses on profit or economic viability. Within this framework, the employees delivering (contracted) services allow the contract to manoeuvre the required work process. Yet, they do not participate in the formation of the contract. The employees and/or their representatives are not part of the contract design; beyond this, their concerns, related to job quality as much as those related to the service quality, are marginalized. Up until recently discussions of allegedly gender-blind procedures neglected the conditions that influence the likelihood that procedures would be understood as gendered and benefit female employees. Thus, an analytical model is needed for the investigation of these conditions.

Our presented model aims at introducing public procurement of social services in ways that epitomize Acker’s argument that organizations ignore attributes of gender/ ethnic-racial and class, leaving the low-quality service operating jobs for the abstract, frequently replaced employees. The proposed JoQuEPP model analyses the conditions reinforcing the likelihood of introducing regulations regarding job-quality in public procurement as a form of enhancing job quality for female employees. The analytical value of JoQuEPP rests in its ability to maintain the complexity that characterizes the specific cultural, institutional, legal, and political context of each dimension: context, service, market, administrators and pressures. We examine cases from New Zealand, the Netherlands, Israel, Greece and Germany, allowing us to examined the process through which job quality was improved.

The Risks and Opportunities from the Transformation of Work in Public Transport for Women Workers: Evidence from Five Cities in the Global South

Tessa Wright

Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom

Women’s jobs are affected in particular ways by the changes in work in public transport brought about by automation and digitisation, with further technological developments predicted to have dramatic impacts on the workforce. Jobs in ticket sales and fare collection, for example, are often undertaken women, and are particularly vulnerable to automation. Yet much discussion of the future of work in public transport neglects gender, or considers women primarily as users of public transport rather than as workers. While trends in the transformation of work are affecting workers globally, this paper focusses on research conducted for the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) in five cities in the Global South that have introduced or extended a public transport mode with significant implications for women’s employment – Bangkok, Bogota, Cape Town, Mexico City and Nairobi. It considers the risks and opportunities for women’s employment from changes in how public transport is delivered. Opportunities include the chance to move from informal work to new formal employment as new public transport systems are introduced, or to challenge occupational segregation by entering typically higher-paid driving roles. However the serious risks include job loss from automated fare payment systems. Furthermore the paper finds that violence and sexual harassment remain a common workplace occurrence for women transport workers. It finds that trade union actions are key to mitigating job loss through negotiated agreements, and provides examples of union mobilisation where women have played a key role in organising to defend jobs and transport services. Unions worldwide, though, need to do more to address sexual harassment and gender-based violence to attract and defend female members

Class Experiences In The Household: Patterns Of Involvement Of Women From The Same Family Into Working Life

Elif Hacısalihoğlu

Trakya University, Turkey

This study focuses on how the same class and household origins shape women’s experience of paid work throughout and after the process of proletarianization. The study is conducted in the Eastern Black Sea Region, where women’s paid work emerges in three main forms: the nature of the relationship with tea/land; work in public sector and work in private sector.

The proletarianization process of women and their involvement in working life is discussed in relevant literature with respect to experiences following rural-to-urban and international migration, experiences in different sectors and positions in working life and solidarity and social struggle. This study will present the converging and diverging class experiences of working women from the same household, and subject to the same class and gender norms. The life stories of four women from the same family – which start within the household but extend beyond it – is examined within their relation to the transforming context of their life conditions under the socio-economic dynamics of Turkey.

While in-depth interview and observation techniques are employed in the study, it also includes ethnographic elements, for the author of the study is a woman that comes from a family in the Black Sea region, and still maintains her connections with the region as well.

Availability to Work and Job Search: An Analysis of Spanish Inactive Population from a Gender Perspective

Sofía Pérez de Guzmán1, Margarita Gallego1, Valentina Viego2

1Universidad de Cádiz, Spain; 2Universidad Nacional del Sur, Argentina

Despite the increase in employment and the reduction of unemployment that has taken place in Spain since mid 2013, unemployment is considered to be the main social problem by more than two thirds of the population (Center for Sociological Research, 2018). The apparent mismatch between official statistics and population views is due to the existence of a “sociological unemployment” that remains hidden from official figures: individuals available and willing to work but not actively searching for a job are defined as non-active (ILO definitions). In order to formulate effective employment policies to integrate the economically inactive population that is available to work, it is necessary to know their circumstances and the barriers hat hinder their incorporation into the labour market. The objective of this work is to delve into the characteristics of the ”sociological unemployment” that remain hidden from labour force statistics in Spain, taking into account a gender perspective. Its evolution is analyzed in the last years in order to determine if (and how) the Great Recession has influenced the size of potential working force. Subsequently profiles are presented in terms of age, levels of education, nationality, trajectories with respect to job and, especially, gender and how they influence their attitudes towards job search. We carried out a statistical analysis based on the microdata of the Survey of Active Population.