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Working women : a study of the meaning of employment and unemployment in women's lives

By Angela Coyle

Abstract

This thesis has addressed an ongoing debate on gender differentiation\ud in employment which has been concerned to analyse why women's economic\ud activity should be constructed as more marginal than men's and why women's\ud employment should be so concentrated in low paid, low skilled jobs. The\ud research has examined the nexus of women's paid and unpaid work and how\ud the form of the organisation of the family and familial ideology undermines\ud the crucial importance of paid employment both to women and the family,\ud whilst the form of the organisation of the labour process often undervalues\ud the real competences women have. The research makes plain the contribution\ud of women's paid and unpaid work. It has been focussed as a case study, on\ud the experiences of a sample of women clothing workers who were made\ud redundant. The case study provides material on the organisation of the\ud clothing industry and the nature of women's jobs there; on employer's\ud strategies for restructuring and rationalising the labour process - which\ud includes factory closure, and the impact and meaning of job loss in the\ud context of patterns of female economic activity, women's familial role and\ud the conditions of the female labour market. As such therefore, it is a\ud study not just of job loss, but of the nature of women's work. The thesis\ud concludes that women's paid employment remains differentiated and\ud marginalised whilst women are employed as cheap labour and whilst that is\ud endorsed by men's claim to a breadwinner's wage. The sexual division of\ud labour within the family contributes to the construction of women as cheap\ud labour. However the wage form, as an unequal wage, sustains those\ud familial relations

Topics: HD, HQ
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:4245

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