Gender, Diversity and Precarity
- Elina Meliou, Aston University, UK.
- Ana Lopes, Newcastle University Business School, UK
- Steve Vincent, Newcastle University Business School, UK
- Mustafa Ozbilgin, Brunel University, UK
Whilst research on precarious forms of employment is often presented at ILPC conferences, to date, such research often pays little attention to the gender and diversity challenges that precarious work entails. Precarious work is characterised by low pay, insufficient and variable hours, short-term contractual rights, work-life balance issues (Ayudhya et al., 2017) and insufficient regulatory protection (ILO, 2015; Vallas, 2015). Such characteristics are often found in part-time, temporary and zero-hours employment, as well as in dependent self-employment. Socio-economic upheaval has led nations to become socially and politically more isolated, exclusionary and protective of resources, which creates climates that do not foster inclusion of vulnerable demographic groups in organizations and society at large (Mor Barak, 2018). Indeed, precarious work has deleterious effects for vulnerable demographics groups worldwide with women - as well as other groups such as migrants, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, etc. - experiencing in and out of work poverty (Walby, 2015). However, in some cases precarious employment is the only way to secure work, especially among vulnerable demographic groups. With limited opportunities for conventional forms of employment, precarious work, including the use of digital labour platforms (Gandini, 2018), may provide earning opportunities, allowing vulnerable groups to transcend local labour markets and secure some form of employment.
There is a clear need to understand how precarity in employment is experienced for diverse social groups. As a consequence, this stream seeks research that discusses such issues and develops a more nuanced understanding of the various contexts, experiences and consequences of precarious work. In tune with the conference’s general theme, we are also interested in research that explores ‘responses and resistance’ to precarity and gendered precarity in particular, both in terms of practical action in the workplace and industrial relations.
We welcome conceptual, theoretical and/or empirical papers that provoke new ways of thinking about diversity, gender and precarious work. Topics and themes that might be discussed include, but are not limited to:
- Developing novel theoretical resources to illuminate how diverse groups are affected by precarious forms of work
- Assessing how diverse groups experience precarity differently, across different employer types, communities, and nations.
- Analysising the role of management in creating and resolving tensions impelled by precarity within diverse groups.
- Critiquing the role of regulation in catalysing and/or limiting any diversity-based challenges created by precarious employment
- Exploring institutional mechanisms for negotiating gendered forms of precarity at work, how they work and how useful they are
- Analysing forms of activism, individual and collective resistance in local struggles for emancipation from precarious employment