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Internationally, many care-recipients and unpaid carers are not receiving the services they need to live full and independent lives, representing substantial social injustice. We explored unmet need and inequalities in receipt of long-term care services in England. Methods comprised in-depth interviews and secondary analysis of UK Household Longitudinal Study dyad data from 2017/2019. We found widespread unmet need for services overall and inequalities by sex, ethnicity, income, and area deprivation. Aspects of long-term care policy, service delivery, people’s material resources, and constrained and unconstrained choice all played a role.

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How is life in social isolation seen from the viewpoint of people who experience persistent poverty? Given the systemic denial of self-representational agency from those living in poverty and the neoliberalisation of the welfare state, this article turns to those who remained invisible to either the media or the state during the pandemic. In line with current tendencies to prioritise the voice and lived knowledge of people in poverty, we provided our interlocutors with a specifically designed diary tool to allow them to share their mundane experiences and thoughts at their own discretion. Using these diaries of women and men in poverty, and complementary interviews, this article unpacks the ways our participants deal with and understand their everyday relationships with the absent state, mostly welfare and education. Based on the themes that emerged from our interlocutors’ journals, our findings reveal the Janus-faced abandoning/monitoring state that they routinely confront. We then demonstrate how they are constantly chasing the state, struggling to receive the support they lawfully deserve. At the same time, being subjected to practices of state monitoring and surveillance often results not only in mistrust but also in withdrawing almost altogether from the welfare services and social workers, and turning to alternative support networks. We conclude by offering two insights that accentuate, on the one hand, what we and our diarists already know, namely that they count for nothing. Still, on the other hand, the act of self-documentation itself reveals the representational agency of those brave diarists who refuse to forsake their worthiness as citizens.

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Author: Matthew Cooper

Support for the unemployed in the UK has become increasingly conditional. This included enforced unpaid work, Mandatory Work Activity (MWA). This was sold as an innovative feature of ‘twenty-first century welfare’ by the 2010–15 government; however, it actually represented the restoration of older techniques of government. This article, compares MWA with enforced work regimes from the last days of the Poor Law in the 1930s. It highlights similarities between both regimes but also significant differences: in the 1930s different claimant groups were subject to different coercions, whereas in the MWA regime, claimants were treated as a homogenous category in need of discipline.

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This article examines how recent welfare reform in the UK has caused systemic violence to people with severe disabilities who are reliant on state benefits. It evaluates the underpinning discourse framings and changes in welfare policies, using concepts of debility and recognition to reveal the inherent contradictions in policies targeting people on the ‘wrong side of inequality’. To help contribute to a recognition of the impact of these changes, the article gives voice to six people with severe disabilities who, through their benefit stories, expose the impact of this violence. Despite these injustices, their stories reveal lives lived with great courage and resilience, and worthy of much greater recognition.

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The chapter examines the effects of changes in research and innovation (R&I) funding on gendered practices (Korvajärvi, 2012), gender (in)equalities and the formation of women’s career paths in R&I. The context is Finland, where R&I and its funding expanded in the 1990s and 2000s and then declined significantly between 2008/09 and 2015. Drawing on Dorothy Smith’s (2005) institutional ethnography, the chapter analyzes the career histories of Finnish women (N=30) working in research in and outside of academia, in the multidisciplinary field of health technology. Most of the interviewees had lived through both the expansion period and the cuts that emerged in R&I funding in the post-2000s. Many had found opportunities for research work during the period of plentiful funding and had started successful research careers, and then faced the hardening competition of declining resources with experiences of gender inequality and even direct gender discrimination. Gendered (male/female dominated or mixed gender) work communities shaped these inequalities and especially for women researchers with a ‘reproductive body’ (Pecis, 2016) who were treated unequally and even excluded. We argue that significant changes in R&I funding intensify gender inequalities and affect the career paths of women in R&I.

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As part of a global trend of improving the societal impact and relevance of science, co-creative platforms for developing new knowledge and innovations are increasingly common in Sweden and internationally (Mauser et al, 2013; Owen et al, 2013; Reypens et al, 2016). This study investigates two Swedish cases – The Gender Academy and Gender Contact Point – in order to scrutinize if, and if so how, the societal impact of gender studies may be reinforced by platforms for academia-society collaboration. Previous studies in the field of social innovation help distinguish mechanisms for organizational and societal transformation in these constellations (Westley et al, 2017; Howaldt et al, 2018). Our study reveals that both platforms engage researchers and stakeholders in innovation processes of joint identification, exploration and solution of societal and organizational challenges, as is common in social innovation. Both struggle, however, to bridge the critical agenda of the researchers and the constructive agendas of the stakeholders. They do this by emphasizing the potential of gender studies to improve organizational competitiveness, innovativeness and attractiveness, on the one hand, while advancing academic knowledge on mechanisms for organizational and societal transformation, on the other.

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Despite the ongoing digitalization producing many jobs in rural areas, the recruitment of women into ICT remains a critical challenge. This chapter analyzes the entanglements of the global trend of digitalization with the locally enacted structures of gendered working and living in a rural region of western Norway based on professional-life narratives of 25 women working in ICT. The analysis explores the types of ICT workplaces the women found and the characteristics of working life in the region including the importance of concepts such as ‘place-belongingness’ and the ‘idyllic rurality’. The increase of ICT workplaces in this region has provided opportunities for women to find less traditional work in the region. The findings suggest that the ongoing digitalization across sectors has opened up a particular type of ICT work opportunities that attract women to ICT jobs in the public and private secondary ICT sector. This contributes to a new gendering of ICT work as it includes organizations and industries where ICT expertise is not already occupied by men or images of masculinity.

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Living the Contradiction

ePDF and ePUB available Open Access under CC-BY-NC-ND licence.

The Nordic countries are regarded as frontrunners in promoting equality, yet women’s experiences on the ground are in many ways at odds with this rhetoric.

Putting the spotlight on the lived experiences of women working in tech-driven research and innovation areas in the Nordic countries, this volume explores why, despite numerous programmes, women continue to constitute a minority in these sectors.

The contributors flesh out the differences and similarities across different Nordic countries and explore how the shifts in labour market conditions have impacted on women in Research and Innovation.

This is an invaluable contribution to global debates around the mechanisms that maintain gendered structures in Research and Innovation, from academia to biotechnology and IT.

Open access

Women working in information, communication and technology (ICT), more than women in many other occupations, are under a double pressure: as a minority in a male-dominated professional field, and as women in a ‘greedy’ and 24/7 work environment where the ‘ideal worker’ is still shaped according to a male norm involving less responsibility for childcare. This study explores how women in ICT in the gender-egalitarian culture of Norway negotiate the relationship between work and family responsibilities. The analysis builds on interviews with 22 women working in ICT in research, development and innovation across diverse sectors in Norway in 2017–18. Most of these women experienced that their career development required private support and that and work–life balance solutions, including publicly available childcare, were insufficient. Rather it was the partner’s predictable and less greedy work patterns, not work–life balance policies targeting women, that enabled the women to combine ICT work and family responsibilities.

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In the Nordic countries, but not just there, women are increasingly living a contradiction, that between a strongly embedded public equality rhetoric and the fact that in emerging, highly technologized work contexts such as ICT and eHealth they constitute a minority despite numerous initiatives set up to increase women’s participation in STEM domains. Why does this continue to be the case? The introduction explores some of the reasons why this continues and sets out the contradictions that govern this state of affairs. It discusses the relation between a fully embedded and highly articulated public equality discourse and one of Nordic exceptionalism in a context where horizontal sex segregation in the labour market, including research and innovation, remains strong. It suggests that the public rhetoric regarding both equality and Nordic exceptionalism makes it difficult to raise dissenting voices, but also, that the persistent gender inequalities in the Nordics vary by country.

Open access