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Why Flexible Working Leads to (Self-)Exploitation
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Does flexible working really provide a better work-life balance?

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, flexible working has become the norm for many workers. This volume offers an original examination of flexible working using data from 30 European countries and drawing on studies conducted in Australia, the US and India. Rather than providing a better work-life balance, the book reveals how flexible working can lead to exploitation, which manifests differently for women and men, such as more care responsibilities or increased working hours.

Taking a critical stance, this book investigates the potential risks and benefits of flexible working and provides crucial policy recommendations for overcoming the negative consequences.

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Spanning the United Kingdom, United States and Australia, this comparative study brings maternal workers’ politicized voices to the centre of contemporary debates on childcare, work and gender.

The book illustrates how maternal workers continue to organize against low pay, exploitative working conditions and state retrenchment and provides a unique theorization of feminist divisions and solidarities.

Bringing together social reproduction with maternal studies, this is a resonating call to build a cross-sectoral, intersectional movement around childcare. Maud Perrier shows why social reproduction needs to be at the centre of a critical theory of work, care and mothering for post-pandemic times.

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Changes across generations in Italy and Britain
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Over the last fifty years women’s employment has increased markedly throughout developed countries. Women of younger generations are much more likely than their mothers and grandmothers to enter the labour market and stay in it after they marry and have children. Are these changes due only to changes in women’s investments and preferences, or also to the opportunities and constraints within which women form their choices? Have women with higher and lower educational and occupational profiles combined family responsibilities with paid work differently? And have their divisions changed?

With an innovative approach, this book compares Italy and Great Britain, investigating transformations in women’s transitions in and out of paid work across four subsequent birth cohorts, from the time they leave full-time education up to their 40s. It provides a comprehensive discussion of demographic, economic and sociological theories and contains large amounts of information on changes over time in the two countries, both in women’s work histories and in the economic, institutional and cultural context in which they are embedded. By comparing across both space and time, the book makes it possible to see how different institutional and normative configurations shape women’s life courses, contributing to help or hinder the work-family reconciliation and to reduce or reinforce inequalities.

“Women in and out of paid work” will be valuable reading for students, academics, professionals, policy makers and anyone interested in women’s studies, work-family reconciliation, gender and class inequalities, social policy and sociology.

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