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The Realities and Futures of Work


Women and segmentation

In 1888, a group of women, mostly teenagers, were working in London factories, making matchsticks. The pay was low and employment conditions were poor. The work was dangerous, exposure to phosphorous often leading to disfigurement and an early, painful death. Workers’ pay was docked for seemingly arbitrary reasons. One day, after yet another worker was visibly victimised, the women had had enough. The women went on strike, refusing to return to work until things changed. They won, and the impact on labour relations across society was profound. Others followed suit in striking, from coal miners to female garment workers, even in the US. Conditions improved. British union membership trebled over the next 30 years.1

A century plus later, much has changed, but some things remain the same. Working conditions, particularly regarding occupation health and safety, have improved. Women remain militant. Gender-based pay discrimination has persisted through most societies; in some (like Australia) it was institutionalised through legally binding decisions or enactments until explicit discrimination was technically abandoned in the 1970s.2 The gap between men’s and women’s pay—the ‘gender pay gap’—has reduced but it endures in most countries.3 The term ‘gender gap’ may also refer to situations in which women receive poorer working conditions than men or may have inferior experiences such as being harassed more commonly at work than men. Thus the ‘gender gap’ is an indicator of disadvantage experienced by women at work.4

In this chapter we focus on the issues of gender and related segmentation at work. It starts with a discussion of the broad institutional factors shaping how gender and work interact: the domestic sphere, its link to social values and norms, regulation through the state and unions and the role of organisational policies and practices. The situations of and problems faced by women are quite different in female-dominated and male-dominated work, so the largest part of this chapter gives attention to the specific circumstances of women in female-dominated and male-dominated work. In doing that, we also look to the future: are female-dominated jobs under threat, or is the greater threat from what is happening to women in male-dominated jobs? The chapter includes brief discussion of some of the other issues facing women no matter whether they are in a ‘men’s job’ or a ‘women’s job’.

With the title ‘Women and segmentation’, the focus is very much on gender as a source of disadvantage, rather than on other factors that may create disadvantage in the labour market, such as age (being young, or old), disability, race or ethnicity. Some factors involved in labour market disadvantage (such as labour market segmentation and regulation distance) have general application across many forms of disadvantage. Others (such as the role of the domestic sphere) are specific to understanding disadvantage associated with gender. Importantly, no matter whether a female worker is in a ‘men’s job’ or a ‘women’s job’, her situation is also made more difficult if she also possesses one of these other sources of disadvantage. Researching this is what is referred to as studying ‘intersectionality’.5 One of those forms of intersectionality, and the one that is discussed in the latter part of this chapter, is the intersection of gender and migrant status. It could be persuasively argued there are other, more important ones, such as the intersection of gender and ‘race’.6 In the USA, for example, ‘race’ is the principal cleavage in the labour market, and the factor most closely linked to class and disadvantage. Its role is explicitly tied to the history of slavery.7 In Europe, however, ‘race’ is almost a taboo term in many circles, and in several countries the collection of racial statistics is illegal,8 probably a tie to the history of war. More research and academic discourse there focuses on the related themes of ethnicity, migrants and migration. There is not sufficient space here to do justice to either issue, but the issues discussed later in this chapter are more akin to those relevant in Europe (and among the Hispanic population of North America).

Institutions and gender at work

How gender interacts with work is influenced by a number of institutions. These include domestic labour; social values and norms; and the state—including the regulatory and legal framework and the behaviour of the state as employer and provider of social infrastructure and services such as childcare.

Domestic labour and the workplace

The domestic sphere is a central factor in gender segmentation of the labour force—perhaps, ultimately, the driving force for the durability of gender inequality. Men were traditionally available for working long hours, only because someone was at home doing all the things that needed to be done to get men to work and to produce the next generation of workers. It is a variant on this model that is depicted in Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. This traditional ‘breadwinner’ model of domestic organisation has declined as more women enter the labour force and participate in paid labour, a phenomenon that has been gathering pace since the 1960s.

The tasks allocated within the domestic sphere are largely replicated in the market sphere. For example, as women have entered the workforce, and activities that were previously undertaken within the household now have to be organised through the market, those paid occupations previously done in the household tend to be undertaken in the market by women. Tasks that are done seemingly for free in the home are generally perceived to be of low value in the formal economy and, as we see later, receive low pay and status.9

Social values and norms

The role of women in domestic labour shapes and is in turn shaped by social values and norms that prioritised roles of women as homemakers. Attitudes towards working women vary considerably between societies. Depending on the strength and scope of ‘conservative’ views about women’s roles, in some societies women may, as a result of such values, be barred from particular occupations or industries, prevented from working at all if they are married, or paid substantially less than men who are doing exactly the same work. In fact, all of those things happened in several countries until at least the 1960s or 1970s, and in some countries they still do—not just in Atwood’s Gilead.10

Social values and norms are not created from thin air, of course. They reflect the reinforcement of ideas (to serve the interests of powerful groups) through socialisation and the contestation of ideas. Socialisation may occur within the home; within the primary and secondary education systems; through the mass media; through religious institutions; and within the workplace. The contestation of ideas may occur as objective circumstances raise doubt about the validity of dominant values (e.g. the idea never really seemed fair to most single women that they should be paid less than single men); as social movements (such as the feminist movement) challenge the interests of powerful groups; through alternative institutions and media; and even in tertiary education (e.g. racism is negatively correlated with education levels).

As we saw in previous chapters, dominant groups may seek to maintain and exercise their power by attempting to shape the values and preferences of those in the dominated group, sometimes using members of the dominated group (as in The Handmaid’s Tale’s Aunts). Yet, as we also saw, the control so exercised is almost always only partial, and sometimes eventually collapses. Values such as fairness (or even self-preservation) can directly confront existing cultural practices and eventually overturn them. The women in The Handmaid’s Tale attempted (often successfully) to flee Gilead for Canada, and eventually (though we are not told precisely how) Gilead collapsed.

There is another aspect of norms and behaviour we must consider. A fundamental difference between men and women is their experience of violence, best summarised by Margaret Atwood’s observation, long after writing The Handmaid’s Tale, that men are ‘afraid women will laugh at them’ while women are ‘afraid of being killed’.11 The implicit threat of violence, even if never actualised, can help suppress the wage demands of any group,12 including women. Violence does not only occur in the domestic setting, of course. It is also potentially relevant at work. One important aspect of many women’s experience at work is harassment, which might be sexual or simply sex-based (i.e. arising from the fact that the offender’s coworker is a woman).13 Gender-based harassment is one way in which the threat or actuality of violence is manifested at work, and so prohibitions on sexual harassment, as implemented through judge-based law in the USA, have been shown to increase female labour force participation and relative female incomes.14 The less strict are prohibitions on any form of violence, including harassment, the more likely that harassment of women will be higher and their relative incomes will be lower.

Some organisations have ‘employee action plans’ that provide counselling or assistance to employees who have experienced domestic violence, and a growing number of collective agreements in Australia contain domestic violence clauses, enabling people to access leave in such situations. It is only used by a small proportion of workers but, for those who do, it is extremely important.15


A key factor influencing the situation of women at work is the roles played by regulation and by the state. There are three aspects of what the state does that have a critical impact on women’s situation.

The law and regulatory framework

Just as attitudes vary hugely between societies, so too does the legal framework: from Scandinavia (where parental leave available on birth of a child can only be fully used if it is shared between fathers and mothers) to Pakistan (in parts of which girls are unable to even attend school, let alone gain skilled employment). Within a country, legislation on such matters as sex discrimination and equal employment opportunity, the rules of industrial tribunals16 and decisions of courts17 can have major impacts on what happens in the workplace.

The state as employer

Legislation is not the only way by which the state affects the workplace. The state is itself a large employer, and its practices can be models for private sector employers, particularly large ones. For example, equal opportunity requirements on Australian public service employers have been more detailed and demanding than those affecting private sector employers. Entitlements (such as annual leave or maternity leave) may be put in place first in public sector organisations and then spread through comparison pressures to larger private sector employers.

State infrastructure and services

The state affects the workplace through the allocation of resources in the budget. As just one example, the availability of affordable childcare, in appropriate locations, is a key factor enabling women to participate in the labour force and influencing the number of hours they work. The availability, generosity and conditions for parental leave are another. In Sweden, for example, part of the parental leave entitlement in effect must be taken by the father, so male involvement in child rearing (or ‘childcare’) is much higher.

Thus the state regulates by setting rules and procedures that shape the framework, but also by example (as employer) and by the allocation of public resources. The state matters when its behaviour reflects something different to what would otherwise have come about as a result of the operation of existing social values and norms held by people in power and operating in a market. So if the state passes laws that just formalise what everybody would have done anyway, it will make no difference. In The Handmaid’s Tale, the state created regulations that were out of step with many people’s views. In that story, as with most regulatory paradigm shifts, attitudes evolved to adjust to and in many cases accept the new norms embodied in the regulation, though many continued to resist. But if laws preclude discriminatory behaviour when some employers would otherwise behave in a discriminatory manner, then regulation will make a difference to the gender gap at work.

Trade unions and women

The state is not the only regulatory institution. Unions also perform that function. Unions regulate work by negotiating collective agreements with employers that shape the pay and conditions of workers. They constrain the freedom of management to exercise its prerogative to manage workers in whatever way they see fit. They also put pressure on the state (governments, courts and tribunals) to establish or improve minimum wages or minimum conditions of employment in a number of areas.

As with the state, if unions just reflect the values of people with power, they make no positive difference to gender at work. For example, up until the 1960s, trade unions paid little attention to women,18 and indeed supported unequal wages for men and women, institutionalising the discriminatory norms of the time. That is, their position reflected the dominance of the ‘family needs’ or ‘male breadwinner’ notion in wage fixing and union ideology. Unions primarily concerned themselves with organising and representing male members. Unions as a regulatory institution reinforced the lower pay of women compared to men and essentially did nothing to alter the situation of women.

Around the 1960s—under the rising influence of the women’s movement—union policy changed. They tended to support equal pay and thus union rules and agreements reduced the ability of managers to pay men and women differently. Still, women were, and remain, underrepresented in unions at all levels, and underrepresentation is most severe in the senior levels of unions.19 Women are also underrepresented among union delegates. However, underrepresentation of women in union officialdom and delegate structures has been easing.20 A number of researchers have referred to the poor performance of unions in serving their female members and the lack of interest by male-dominated unions in women.21

Yet union density has been slightly higher among females than males in several countries (such as Sweden, the UK, New Zealand and Australia) for several years now.22 Women are disproportionately employed in the public sector, which has higher union density than the private sector, and now this more than offsets the downward effect on women’s overall density arising from the concentration of women in particular occupations and in casual or temporary employment.23 The evidence generally suggests that, when they are in similar situations in the labour market, females and males are now equally likely to join unions.24 Women appear to have more to gain from union membership than men, as those with weaker labour market positions often (though not always) have more to gain from unionisation. That is another way of saying the gender gap in pay or conditions is lower for unionised workers.25 Unionisation appears positively linked to gender equity: countries with higher rates of union density tend to have higher ratios of female to male earned income and higher scores on the United Nations Gender Development Index.26

Regulation distance

Not all workers are equally affected by regulation. Those on low wages are more likely to be affected by minimum wage laws than other workers, and those minimum wage laws apply equally to men and women (but there are more women than men in low-wage jobs affected by minimum wages). Those in larger and unionised workplaces are much more likely to be covered by a collective agreement. Those in senior management positions are less likely to be affected by any wage regulation by unions or the state. Lower-level employees, especially those without union membership, are less likely to be aware of their rights under antidiscrimination or equal opportunity legislation. The greater the practical ‘distance’ of employees from regulation, by definition, the less affected their situation will be by it. Low ‘regulation distance’ implies rules or behaviours are in place that will reduce the gender wage gap, provided that the content of the regulation is itself more favourable for women than the norms of those in positions of power that they override.27 However, the outcome will depend on the interaction with labour market segmentation, the focus of the later part of this chapter.

Organisational policies and practices

How gender interacts with work is also influenced within the workplace, by organisational policies and practices, and by interactions with trade unions in the workplace. Two organisations within the same industry and region may sometimes have quite different gender patterns of employment and pay, depending on the characteristics of the organisation and its management.

For example, whether gender segmentation (more about that shortly) is eased or exacerbated in the workplace depends on such matters as: policies and practices for handling harassment; mechanisms to ensure that policies and procedures are ‘gender neutral’; whether individual managers endorse and propagate such values; whether there are systems in place to ensure that equity issues are taken into account in employment relations practices; the ability of organisations to ensure that ‘discretionary’ decision-making is gender neutral (e.g. the provision of ‘market loadings’ in salaries); the level of transparency in pay (a female supervisor testified that she only discovered she was being paid less than her male subordinates when the company went bankrupt and the pay details emerged in court);28 and the existence, content and quality of training of line managers, and how it is followed up.

As you can infer from the above, policy is one thing, practice may be another, and the values and behaviour of individual managers are often critical within a particular work area. Policies will constrain behaviour but they can rarely cover every possible aspect of behaviour, and so organisational culture becomes as important as the formal rules—though of course culture is itself influenced by the rules and policies in place.

The intertwining of policy and culture was highlighted in The Handmaid’s Tale, where harassment and discrimination were so institutionalised that a specific practice of rape was ritualised. This may seem such a fictional world as to be irrelevant, but in many male-dominated institutions (such as the military) analogous behaviours were accepted,29 sometimes as part of initiation (‘hazing’) ceremonies. There is a long history of rape being used by military forces as a weapon of war.30 The cultural embeddedness of sexist or violent practices is why more enlightened military leaders have encountered great resistance to banning them.31

Norms of negotiation within organisations

The experiences of women in any workplace will be influenced by the form wage negotiation takes, as this has a particular impact on women. A number of studies indicate that women tend to be overrepresented in occupations and industries with relatively weak bargaining power.32 In collective bargaining situations, women generally have similar power and militancy to men. But in individualised employment relations, where women are expected to ‘negotiate’ their pay and conditions, they are especially disadvantaged.

Studies have shown that women and men negotiate differently, particularly in relation to money, meaning that—if negotiations take place at all—women are likely to undersell themselves, relative to men, in individual contract negotiations (or, more accurately, men are more likely to exaggerate their abilities).33 An implication claimed by one writer is that ‘manifestations of hubris—often masked as charisma or charm—are commonly mistaken for leadership potential, and that these occur much more frequently in men than in women’; in other words, a disproportionate number of incompetent men become managers.34 That said, it is questionable how much, if any, of the blame for a gender gap should be placed at the feet of women’s agency, as much of this behavioural difference is likely a structural effect, arising from socialisation processes, not just before the workplace but within and outside it. The media, for example, focus on female CEOs’ gender, family and personal life when writing stories about them, but not when writing about male CEOs.35 Their colleagues do likewise and look for an ‘ideal manager’ who is free of encumbrances, able to adopt masculinist, warlike rhetoric and make the ‘hard decisions’.36

A related concept is that of ‘unconscious bias’, whereby decision-makers favour characteristics associated with males rather than females and in negotiations will favour a male over a similarly qualified female without realising they are doing so. Organisational responses to this have included ensuring that women are represented on all selection panels (or even on panels in conferences, where people often network and attain recognition), and providing training on recognising and offsetting unconscious bias to managers. The latter is controversial in some instances: one critic wonders how managers can detect something of which they are not conscious,37 though it probably helps promote good practice in other instances. Often the bigger problem is that women are not appearing as candidates for consideration by selection panels anyway, and responses to that often require examining the structural issues behind this. ‘Unconscious bias’ seems, however, to go further than favouring characteristics associated with men. Women who demonstrate some ‘male’ characteristics, such as assertiveness—even hubris—appear to be penalised for the same things men are rewarded for.38 The social construction of charisma appears highly gendered, not only helping incompetent men to become leaders, even CEOs, but also keeping women away from those positions.39

Labour market segmentation

Labour market segmentation is also critical to understanding the situation of women. Institutions and markets interact to produce the phenomenon of labour market segmentation. It is well recognised that there are ‘female-dominated’ and ‘male-dominated’ jobs, and the extent to which jobs can be characterised as ‘male’ or ‘female’ (or ‘Turkish’, ‘Vietnamese’, etc.) is what people are talking about when they refer to labour segmentation. Through labour market segmentation, labour markets are effectively divided into groups with different bargaining power and status, enabling workers with similar productivity to be paid differently according to their place in the labour market hierarchy.40

Labour market segmentation divides male and female jobs; it also segments employees from non–English speaking backgrounds, intermittently unemployed people, Indigenous Australians and people with disabilities. For certain jobs, employers prefer to hire from the less advantaged segments of the labour force, because the lack of choice means that workers there are prepared to work for less and to accept worse conditions. In segmented labour markets, skills associated with marginal groups are given less value than those associated with more powerful groups of employees.41

There are several sources of gender segmentation of labour markets,42 several of which have been indicated already. Some jobs are socially defined as ‘women’s jobs’. There is male resistance to female employment in ‘men’s jobs’. Women’s jobs are seen as possessing less skill content than men’s jobs. Women may experience difficulties balancing paid work and domestic work. Employers may discriminate against women in terms of hiring, pay and promotion, for example due to a belief that women would be likely to leave a job to have children. In addition, a high rate of casualisation of part-time work means a lack of career paths for many women. In the USA, labour segmentation has been declining, though at a diminishing rate, since the 1970s (i.e. segmentation reduced quite a bit in the 1970s, but very little over the 2000s).43 Segmentation also appears to have declined a little in Australia, and current forecasts suggest it will also decline in the future.44 The pattern in most industrialised countries is that the female share of total employment has risen over the past two decades, leading to a growth in the female employment share in most industries and occupations, regardless of whether they were male- or female-dominated; the exceptions are mainly in some male-dominated industries or occupations, for example computing in many industrialised countries.45

The forms gender gaps take and the ways in which they are created is influenced by what labour market segments you are looking at (is it male-dominated, female-dominated or mixed?) and the extent of ‘regulation distance’ (is work in this industry heavily or lightly regulated, or unregulated?).46 For example, where work is female-dominated, the main issue affecting pay is undervaluation, which results from either longstanding norms (where regulation distance is high) or the incorporation of norms into formal rules such as statutes, awards and agreements (where regulation distance is low). Where work is male-dominated, individual women may be disadvantaged by pay discrimination (where regulation distance is high) or by career barriers or sex-based harassment (where regulation distance is low).47

The experiences of women in female-dominated work, and in male-dominated work, show two quite different aspects of the problems of gender at work. That is what we look at in the rest of this section. Of course, as we have already seen, women also face issues in workplaces where they are neither tokens nor the ‘dominant’ group. So labour segmentation does not explain everything about women’s situation at work, but it still plays an important role.

Women in female-dominated work

‘Female-dominated work’ might refer to an industry (what the employer makes or does) or an occupation (what the employee does in their job) where female employees predominate. Examples of female-dominated industries include residential care services, social assistance services, library services and private households employing staff. On the other hand, some examples of female-dominated occupations include aged-care workers, childcare workers, librarians, primary school teachers, nurses, dental assistants, laundry workers, receptionists and hairdressers.

A common feature of many female-dominated jobs is undervaluation. At the heart of undervaluation of women’s wages are gender-based notions of skill. Segmented ‘men’s’ and ‘women’s’ jobs involve different skills and attributes. Women’s jobs are likely to involve personal and social relationships—common in service-industry jobs. There is a tendency to downgrade the skills of these jobs because they are associated with ‘female’ skills: gender differences in skill content of jobs appear to have been considerably less than gender differences in pay.48 This relates to some aspects of emotional labour, discussed below. This undervaluation of female skill is particularly evident where the job is part-time—often reflecting the perception that part-time work is not a ‘real’ job.

On average, women’s wages are lower than men’s wages.49 Research indicates that women experience lower earnings quite early in their career. Women tend to have lower returns for education and training (but see later). Still, the gender wage gap cannot be explained by women’s interruptions to labour force participation due to child rearing.50 While the gap between men’s and women’s earnings is partly due to factors such as the higher proportion of women working part-time, the lower level of overtime earnings among women and the underrepresentation of women in higher paid (e.g. managerial) occupations, part of it is also due to the undervaluation of skills associated with ‘women’s work’. The skills associated with women’s work may be undervalued not only by employers, unions and male employees but also by women themselves.

A number of female-dominated jobs are characterised not only by low wages but also by poor working conditions. This is especially the case where gender and other forms of disadvantage intersect, as we shall see later. In addition, anything that widens the distribution of income overall will tend to widen income inequality between men and women. This may offset the effects of other actions aimed at reducing gender pay gaps.51

Emotional labour and emotion work

Many female-dominated jobs have links back to the domestic sphere. Many of those require emotional labour, as do many female-dominated jobs that do not relate to the domestic sphere. Emotional labour is expended when an employee must manage and at times modify their own emotions (i.e. to induce or suppress their own feelings), while considering and quite often attempting to manage the emotions of the customer or client. This concept derives much from the path-breaking work of Arlie Hochschild and subsequently Sue Bolton.52

In earlier chapters two divergent trends in the management of employees were discussed: increased reliance on supervision and tight management of employees; and increased reliance on the discretion of employees. These affect several different modes of work: rule-driven work, which increasingly includes work driven by mathematical algorithms; emotion work; and creative work.

The technological changes discussed earlier provide some examples of the tendency towards the first (rule-driven work).53 Perhaps technological changes will also place greater value on workers with the capacity to undertake the second (emotion work) and the third (creative work). While rule-driven work features the tightening of direct managerial supervision, and creative work features the contrasting widening of employee discretion (a loosening of direct managerial supervision), emotion work often faces increased demands through a combination of both rules and discretion (e.g. for airline stewards, care workers or call-centre operators).

Emotional labour is typically exerted by women because of their common situation in ‘caring’ occupations. Such occupations are often not afforded the same status as those with male-defined ‘skills’. Sometimes the ability to undertake emotional labour is defined not as a ‘skill’ but as an ‘attribute’, for which rewards are often not forthcoming. Yet it may require training and be performed in difficult circumstances.54

Some authors (including Hochschild) draw a distinction between ‘emotional labour’ and ‘emotion work’. Emotion work ‘requires one to induce or suppress feelings in order to sustain the outward countenance that produces the proper state of mind in others’.55 Both emotional labour and emotion work involve an attempt to invoke a particular emotional reaction in another person. The difference is that emotional labour means you are trying to get a particular emotional response in a customer or client, while in emotion work that could be anyone, including your coworkers. So, one way of looking at the distinction between the two is to see emotional labour as demanded by the employer, while emotion work is what is necessary to get by in one’s job, including through interactions with customers, supervisors and perhaps staff. By this schema, emotional labour is a subset of emotion work.

The use of emotion work is particularly common among women with chronic illness. Emotion work can be a consequence of the stigma and stress that women with chronic illness suffer. One of the main issues they have to consider is whether or not to disclose their illness. To decide not to disclose their illness means that these women need to constantly be aware of their appearance or symptoms to limit the suggestion that something is not quite right. Of course, for some this is not an issue if their illness is visible (in which case it is often labelled a ‘disability’).56 The issue of disclosure can also have implications for power in the workplace.57 Other ‘equity groups’ face similar challenges; for instance, people who have suffered from mental illness.

Rules and discretion

So how is it that, as I said above, emotion work is often linked to increased demands through a combination of both rules and discretion? On the one hand, organisations may seek to put in place rules about the emotions that staff must display, from Capro’s smile campaign mentioned in Chapter 5 to the requirements on airline staff, waiters or care workers. On the other hand, organisations cannot directly control and quantify how staff express or internalise emotions; they can try, but this is even more difficult than trying to control the effort that workers put into their jobs. Employee discretion determines how and how much emotion work is expressed.

Moreover, rules often produce outcomes that require employees to come up with ways of managing the emotions of clients. One of the repeated funny scenes in Little Britain concerns a travel agent who invariably responds ‘computer says “no”’ after customers try to make a booking, and the humour lies partly in the agent’s steadfast unwillingness to emote in any way. For a deadly serious contrast, watch Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake, and the UK scenes in the shopfronts of the public agency responsible for social security and employment, where the rules under which staff work require them to impose penalties and hardship on low-income earners on benefits. They also have to manage the emotions of those clients to avoid distress, despair or even violence. The staff appear heartless but they are engaging in emotional labour. Some staff try to find a workaround for their clients, some internalise the values of the system, some just try to survive. It would be similar for Centrelink staff in Australia, trying to deal with the repercussions of the thousands of false invoices issued under what became known as ‘Robo-debt’.58

Ironically, even as computers and algorithms increasingly take the role of humans as decision makers,59 there is no let-up in the importance of emotional labour, and the growing importance of ‘service’ work makes emotional labour even more central. It is not easy to measure emotional content, but it is easy to measure other aspects of the work of emotional labourers, and it will become easier with technological change. Employers can (and do) count how long a call-centre worker takes on a break, or how many clients a care worker sees in a defined period. But this may be counter to the stated function of the organisation and the norms of the employees. The latter may resist, as in a study of Norwegian health and social services occupations, where researchers found that employees rejected some of the standards of their employers, who in turn had standardised ‘neo-Taylorist’ service agreements with public agencies. Employees provided additional services in accordance with their own standards. Employees ‘misbehaved’, obstructing management control of their work and its attempts to increase efficiency.60 These conflicts are likely to become more common as micromeasurement spreads.

Future employment of women and female-dominated work

Discussion of the future of work has focused a lot on the type of jobs that new technology will create or destroy and, to a lesser extent, the nature of employment or contracting relationships related to the growth of platform technologies. Little consideration has been given to how gender fits into this (aside from occasional consideration of the gender aspects of the types of jobs that will be created or destroyed), nor to the long-term effects of changing technology on the digital–biological interface, and how this affects gender and work.

One way of looking at it is to ask: who will be better suited by the jobs of the future—men or women? The correct answer is ‘there will be no difference’ in that both sexes can do just about all jobs equally well, but, to the extent that there are socially constructed ‘men’s jobs’ and ‘women’s jobs’, it is important to investigate whether ‘men’s jobs’ or ‘women’s jobs’ will grow more rapidly. One way to examine this is to look at the jobs that are forecast to grow and decline over the next decade (the type of issue examined in Chapter 4), and whether ‘men’s jobs’ or ‘women’s jobs’ are forecast to grow by more. Using occupational projections by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics for the decade 2016–2026,61 and separate data on the percentage of female employment in occupations, it appears projected US employment growth will be slightly higher in ‘women’s jobs’ than in ‘men’s jobs’.62 Likewise, if the female proportion of employment in each occupation remained unchanged, and the employment in each industry grew (or shrank) as projected, female employment as a proportion of total employment would grow slightly. This should not be a surprise. As mentioned in Chapter 4, some of the biggest employment growth is likely to be in care-related jobs, like aides and carers and health professionals, which have higher rates of female employment than many manual jobs.

A second approach is to ask: will men’s jobs or women’s jobs be more affected by technological change? That is, will ‘women’s jobs’ be replaced more or less readily than ‘men’s jobs’? Using as a starting point the work of Frey and Osborne (F&O) of the relative susceptibility to automation of different types of jobs, especially ‘male’ versus ‘female’ jobs,63 and considering the gender composition of occupational employment, it appears that the gender differences in automation effects are not big, and if anything men’s jobs are slightly more likely to be automated than women’s jobs.64 Jobs held by women appear slightly less likely than jobs held by men to be replaced by technology. This was most likely because many female jobs (especially those in ‘large’ occupations) have a high ‘caring’ element.

This was consistent with an attitudinal study by University of Sydney researchers, who surveyed 2,000 Australians and found that, overall, women were more optimistic than men about automation and their jobs. Men were over 10 percentage points more likely than women to be somewhat or very concerned about potentially losing their job because of machines or computer programs replacing human workers, about losing their job due to their industry shrinking, or about losing it because of being unable to keep up with the technical skills required. Yet only two in five women currently working felt they could access free or affordable training, equipping them for better jobs. For the authors, addressing existing gendered inequities in employment were important issues for the future.65

Women in male-dominated work

The jobs in male-dominated occupations are not undervalued in the way that jobs in female-dominated occupations are. But the workplace experiences of women in male-dominated work are often problematic for other reasons.

One of the path-breaking studies on women in male-dominated work was undertaken in the 1970s by Rosabeth Moss Kanter.66 She identified issues associated with women’s vulnerability when they are ‘tokens within a skewed group’. A ‘token’ group is a group that represents less than 15 per cent of a workforce and is overwhelmingly outnumbered by a ‘dominant’ group. Although Kanter wrote about women as a token group, she pointed out that related issues arise for token groups along other dimensions—for example, ‘racial’ minorities within a workplace. She studied the experience of female salespeople in a workplace dominated by men, and identified a series of problems including:

  • high visibility, leading to high pressures on performance;
  • polarisation (differences between ‘tokens’ and ‘dominants’ are exaggerated), which leads dominants to heighten the group boundaries between themselves and the token group;
  • assimilation of women into ‘traditional’ female roles (e.g. female salespeople ending up always making the tea), which leads to ‘role entrapment’.

Emerging out of her work was the concept of ‘critical mass’; that is, women (or other minorities) needed to represent more than 15 per cent of a work group in order to be able to have any effect. (The term ‘critical mass’ actually developed in the political science literature in response to Kanter’s work, though she did not use the term herself.)67 Subsequent writers have spoken of the insufficiency of ‘critical mass’ as a criterion for change and point to the importance of critical actors and critical acts.68

Eveline and Booth looked exactly at that issue: at women working in the traditional male preserve of mining, and the sexual politics of employing women in precious-gem mining in Western Australia, including how women mobilised against systemic male dominance.69 The company sought to hire women at this new mine in the 1980s, in part for public relations reasons in the context of new antidiscrimination laws, and in part because women workers, it was thought, would ‘civilise’ the men. This was quite an important consideration in a fly-in fly-out (FIFO) operation, in which workers would be flown in from Perth and stay for two weeks at a time in company camps, as the company had no intention of establishing a township to service the mine. Moreover, it wanted to recruit ‘greenfields’ (untrained or ‘cleanskin’) recruits as operators—a practice identified in Chapter 5 as being associated with culturism—and used psychological and attitudinal testing to choose employees. It wanted a workforce that would not be inclined towards unionism (though, as we saw earlier, women are not really less union-oriented than men).

Eventually, despite all public relations efforts, female employment at the mine fell. When the mining company won a second award for its achievements in promoting equal employment opportunity, three women allegedly left in disgust, including at the way in which the company had failed to replace women who had left. The women at Emsite were sometimes denied information about dangers on the job and were subjected to ‘practical jokes’ and pornographic ‘pin-ups’, and some felt continually ‘on trial’ or began organising resistance. Since then, many things have changed but many things have also not, if a study of women working in the Queensland coal mines two decades later is anything to go by.70 This harassment of and discrimination against women is not just a blue-collar phenomenon. We see it reported among economists and CEOs, very prestigious white-collar occupations.71

Discrimination and harassment are not restricted to male-dominated work (which, after all, only accounts for a minority of working women). The key distinction is that in any workplace, women might be subjected to harassment or discrimination by individual coworkers or bosses, whereas in workplaces where women are a token group,72 negative attitudes and harassment may take a more collective form, reflecting the male-dominated culture of the workplace, especially if implicitly sanctioned by management.73 In ‘mixed’ gender occupations, males are not numerically large enough to sustain a dominant culture of collective sex-based harassment, especially as norms opposed to sex-based harassment have become much more widespread in recent years. There, sex-based harassment seems more likely both to be individual and to be ‘called out’. Indeed, many other aspects of male culture are also likely to be weakened, such as male-focused notions about ‘ideal’ workers.

Emotion work in male-dominated occupations?

Male-dominated occupations have not been considered a domain for emotion work. But this is not necessarily a fair depiction. For example, in the miners’ studies just referred to, women often engaged in ‘presentational emotion management’74 to appear mainstream. That is, they often engaged in emotion work.75 Assuming the language and norms of ‘the boys’ may be a strategy commonly used by the women, a form of ‘assimilation’ into male culture—a different use of the word to that by Kanter.76 For some women, this emotion work may be ‘deep acting’;77 that is, the women’s emotional state adapts to match that of the men in their work environment. For others it may be ‘surface acting’, when the employee’s internal feelings and the external portrayal of feelings are not consistent. Putting a ‘brave face’ on things may be a form of emotion work used to deal with harassment. In such a situation, surface acting can be more stressful for women than deep acting. The presentational emotion work performed by many women in male-dominated occupations is aimed, explicitly or implicitly, at precluding gender-based discrimination or harassment in those situations. If you fit in, you are less likely to be a target, the reasoning goes.

The biggest problems for many women at work—certainly the problems causing the most emotional distress—relate to discrimination and harassment, which, as mentioned, are not restricted to male-dominated work. Women devise multiple strategies to deal with these, many of which involve some form of emotion work.

The gap at the top

In Chapter 2 we looked at power, resource dependency and labour market power. The women with the greatest labour market power are those with the greatest command over resources; that is, they are those in senior managerial and senior executive positions. Yet here is an interesting paradox: gender inequality in pay appears to increase as women move higher up the ladder.78 The relative power disadvantage experienced by women vis-à-vis men appears worst for those women at the top end of the labour market—those with the greatest power. This is the ‘powerful women’s paradox’.

At senior levels of companies, the Australian Government’s Equal Opportunity in the Workplace Agency (EOWA) census of large firms found that, in 2010, women held only 8 per cent of executive key-manager positions among the top 200 companies on the Australian stock exchange (the ASX200), as did 12 per cent in the UK, 14 per cent in the USA, 17 per cent in Canada and 19 per cent in South Africa. Only 38 per cent of ASX200 companies had at least one female executive manager, as did 61 per cent of UK, 68 per cent of Canadian, 71 per cent of US and 77 per cent of South African firms. Women held 8 per cent of Australian board directorships, as did 9 per cent of New Zealand, 9 per cent of UK, 14 per cent of Canadian, 15 per cent of US and 17 per cent of South African firms.79 Earlier, in relation to remuneration, the EOWA had found that in 2008 the overall median pay for Australian senior women was 58 per cent of the overall median pay for men; female chief financial officers and chief operating officers earned half the wage of their male equivalents; and in CEO positions women earned two-thirds the salary of their male counterparts.80

What explains this ‘powerful women’s paradox’?81 One feature in the determination of senior-level pay is the greater discretion over pay at more senior levels and the greater importance of individual negotiation at those levels than below. In the absence of meaningful regulation over pay at that level (i.e. in the context of high ‘regulation distance’), the issue in this male-dominated group is not so much gender differences in individual negotiation styles (discussed earlier) as gendered norms about what makes for an ‘ideal manager’ and the critical role those norms play in determining who is allowed to become a senior manager and how much they will be paid.82

It is possible, but not certain, that this is changing. Whether this might be due to highly paid women’s awareness of and willingness to use antidiscrimination law, their ability to use the media, the innate newsworthiness of high-profile actions or something else is unclear, and the barriers remain substantial. Little wonder that most women think that self-driving cars will be a normal mode of transportation before women will make up half of the CEOs at Fortune 500 companies.83

The future employment of women and male-dominated work

I earlier pointed out that the overall prospects for women’s employment were relatively positive, in that female-dominated jobs appeared less likely to be automated than male-dominated jobs. Perhaps the bigger issue for women is what role they will have in the key jobs of the future that will be most influential, when many of those jobs are male-dominated.

Men dominate in managerial jobs. They dominate in jobs related to engineering, computing and ICT (information and communication technology).84 In most industries and occupations in most developed countries the female share of employment has risen over the past two decades. Rising female labour-force participation rates mean that female employment has grown faster than male employment. Yet in computing and IT, the reverse has happened. In most developed countries (the data in Table 8.1 relate to Europe), the female share of IT occupations has fallen. In Australia, the female share in computer system design and services virtually halved between 1985 and 2015, a remarkable shift.

Internationally, this is an employment area that is not welcoming of women. Recent scandals such as ‘gamergate’ and mistreatment or sexual harassment in some high-tech companies focused attention on the poor situation of women in this cluster.85 The ‘Google Walkout’ was prompted by the handling of sexual harassment by that company.86 This was once a female-dominated occupation—the women who did almost all the computational work to get men into space, highlighted in the movie Hidden Figures, were called computers. This flipped to a seriously male-dominated occupation as its prestige and pay increased and senior men erected hegemonic barriers to women entering at any levels.87 Now, male-dominated groups still operate with norms that privilege males and male behaviour at the expense of females. High regulation distance88 has minimised any constraints.

Table 8.1: Share of females in employment, employed ICT specialists, 2005 and 2015, European countries

Female employment share in ICT specialists (%)








































































United Kingdom
































Czech Republic




















EU (28)




Source: Eurostat

Only when their gender is masked online are the high capabilities of female coders acknowledged.89 But the mask of anonymity online for commenters makes women the target of a disproportionately high amount of online abuse,90 often perpetrated by ‘well-organised international syndicates’ of online ‘trolls’.91 So it is little wonder that women now avoid working in IT.

Segmentation and intersections between ethnicity and gender

The concept of ‘intersectionality theory’, within sociology, recognises diverse identities and therefore diverse interests of ‘membership groups’ (e.g. women, young workers, ethnic minorities). Intersectionality is a term coined in the 1980s to explain the interacting effects of disadvantage.92 The core idea is that disadvantage is not just ‘additive’ but ‘multiplicative’. Economists call this an ‘interaction effect’. Psychologists call this a ‘moderator’. But intersectionality theory has a very specific focus on forms of disadvantage.

When examining the intersection between ethnicity and gender at workplaces, the key differences are between those who do and do not fluently speak the dominant language in the host society—within Anglophone countries, between migrants from non–English speaking background (NESB) and other employees. This represents the boundary along which segmentation is established.

An example of intersectionality is that NESB women migrants face barriers by virtue of gender, race/ethnicity and related issues such as dress or first language, and family responsibilities. The net impact may be that even skilled women migrants may become unemployed or underemployed, when compared to the general population.

To look more at the special circumstances of migrant women, we must first mention some general issues concerning ethnicity. Many stories of exploitation through underpayment of workers (e.g. in agriculture, in franchises) concern migrant workers. The most commonly exploited have been migrants on temporary work visas.93 For example, in Australia it was reported that franchisees in the 7-Eleven chain deliberately chose a particular type of temporary migrant to facilitate exploitation.94 Three particular sources of disadvantage (low power for employees) in some of these recent cases have been language issues, reluctance to report breaches due to employer threats to deport by informing immigration authorities, and lack of knowledge of the industrial relations system. There is more about migrants and disadvantage in enforcing their rights in Chapter 10.

Although migrants may receive higher pay, on average, than other employees, this is because they have, on average, considerably higher skills. Indeed, they are disadvantaged in terms of the pay appropriate for their level of skill and experience, probably in part because of a higher probability of experiencing unemployment, problems in locally recognising overseas qualifications, discrimination, and intra-household decisions taken in the context of the above.95 While temporary migrants may be concentrated in hospitality and agriculture, longer-term NESB migrants had historically been concentrated in manufacturing,96 which is now in long-term decline in most industrialised countries and many newly industrialising ones.97 This creates some particular issues regarding handling structural adjustment in the economy.

NESB migrants have overall been no less supportive of unionism than other workers. While ethnic differences can be used by employers to divide employees and dampen unionism, ethnicity can also be used by unions to mobilise worker support around common interests. Unions can also create notions of common interest that straddle ethnic divisions.98 That said, some key problems for migrants in collective bargaining relate to consultation and communication.99

Turning to migrant women, there has been high segmentation of NESB women, their being overrepresented in blue-collar occupations and with lower access to external and in-house training.100 In relation to pay, female NESB migrants appear more disadvantaged than male migrants.101 Other key issues for NESB women have included occupational health and safety, harassment, traditional narrow job structures (especially in the textiles clothing and footwear (TCF) industry) leading to major barriers to career opportunities, and outwork.102

Recalling the concept of labour flexibility (Chapter 6), the starkest example of disadvantage facing migrant women comes in the form of clothing outworkers.103 Migrant women have been disproportionately represented in the ‘outworker’ sector of TCF, where pay and conditions are among the worst, if not absolutely the worst, in labour markets in many industrialised countries. They represent a classic ‘periphery’ workforce comprising people who are typically classed not as employees but as contractors. Their situation has been so stark that, at times, special regulatory arrangements have been put in place to cover these outworkers.104 Disadvantage is not restricted to industrialised countries. Women in the Indian footwear industry seem ‘invisibilised’ out of the sight of protective regulation or unionism.105

Gender and ethnicity also intersect for women in dual-career migrant couples. Sue Ressia found that couples negotiated between each other in order to decide who would pursue their chosen career ahead of the other. The difficulties for women migrants in leaving the home and entering the workforce were shown in several cases where women’s decisions were based on perceived family needs. Migrant families encountered financial difficulties and problems in managing childcare. There were migrant women who set aside careers for which they were well qualified, either to take lower-status jobs or leave the labour force, as a result of their husbands’ perceived career needs, problems with recognition of overseas qualifications, or problems with childcare.106 So even though the worst examples of people being exploited through the intersection of gender and ethnicity occur in female-dominated occupations (the TCF industries), the problems of the intersectionality of gender and ethnicity are not restricted to female-dominated occupations. Issues such as setting aside careers to take lower-status jobs or leave the labour force can affect migrant women in many fields, including even some well-paid professions dominated by men.

If large-scale labour migrations were a major feature of the globe through the twentieth century, the pressure for such migrations is likely to be even greater through the remainder of the twenty-first century. Globalisation increases awareness of life outside the village, and the relative circumstances of the lowest income earners globally have deteriorated, even if, for those in the middle, there has been a major improvement. More importantly, climate change (which will be discussed more in the next chapter) will create large populations of tens or hundreds of millions, whose housing becomes uninhabitable due to droughts, extreme temperatures or wildfires or rising sea levels.107 The first three causes might, in certain circumstances, be temporary but the last, in this context, is very permanent. Climate change disproportionally affects poor rural populations, who have the least resources to leave their home but will be the most needy if they do.108 The stronger is resistance to action to deal with climate change, the greater will be the size of displaced populations. The effects of large-scale refugee migrations on recipient countries are controversial and beyond the scope of this book, but the issues include what impact will this have on economic activity (possibly up?), wages, especially of the low-skilled (possibly down?), and the introduction of labour-saving technology (possibly slowing it?). One likely effect could be to intensify the segmentation of labour within recipient societies, with migrant women still most disadvantaged, and put pressure on regulators and interest groups seeking to maintain equity and fair pay and conditions for all.


Today’s matchstick girls are found across societies. Women have enthusiastically participated in marches to boost carer’s wages in New Zealand, to protest President Trump in the USA, or to support a living wage in a number of countries. They have demonstrated and struck as nurses, as apparel workers, as teachers, as electronics assemblers and even as building and construction workers. Working conditions are less oppressive for women than they were 130 years ago, but there still is, and will be, a lot for women to talk about, protest about and strike about. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

Gender is a major fracture line in workplaces. It separates occupations and industries from each other, and defines the different ways in which people will experience work. The domestic sphere is a central factor in gender segmentation of the labour force. Social norms and values play a critical role not only in shaping the domestic sphere but also in influencing laws that affect the gendered nature of work. Just as attitudes vary hugely between societies, so too does the legal framework. Regulation distance interacts with labour segmentation to create different forms of disadvantage for women and migrants in different occupations and industries. The experiences of women in female-dominated work, and in male-dominated work, show two quite different aspects of the problems of gender at work. A common feature of many female-dominated jobs is undervaluation of women’s wages arising from gender-based notions of skill. Undervaluation is especially severe for women in female-dominated migrant work. The jobs in male-dominated occupations are not undervalued in the way that female-dominated occupations are. But the workplace experiences of women in male-dominated work are often characterised by problems such as visibility, polarisation and, potentially, assimilation of women into ‘traditional’ female roles.

While the experiences of women in ‘token’ or male-dominated work have specific problems attached, they also face issues in work where they are neither tokens nor the ‘dominant’ group. Discrimination and harassment are not restricted to male-dominated work. In any workplace, women might be subjected to harassment or discrimination by individual coworkers or bosses; whereas in workplaces where women are a token group, negative attitudes and harassment may take a more collective form, reflecting the male-dominated culture of the workplace, especially if implicitly sanctioned by management.

The relative power disadvantage experienced by women vis-à-vis men appears to worsen as women rise up the labour market and further away from regulation and as they get further from adolescence and more disadvantaged by the lingering effects of the household division of labour. Male hubris, often disguised as charisma, enables some men to be greatly overrewarded, especially at senior levels in organisations. Unionisation appears positively linked to gender equity and women appear no less inclined towards unionism than men.

Gender and ethnicity intersect to produce heightened disadvantage, both through what happens in the workplace (locating migrant women in some of the worst, lowest paid jobs) and in the domestic sphere (where decisions about women’s labour force advancement will be heavily constrained by sometimes traditional family considerations). The prospect for future large-scale climate-related migrations is unlikely to ease this disadvantage.

Women appear less likely than men to be adversely affected by automation and AI. Yet women are a declining minority in ICT, where behavioural and attitudinal norms in this male-dominated sector force many women out, prevent others from entering an industry characterised by harassment (including by anonymous trolls) and undervaluation of women’s work (unless anonymity makes gender invisible). It seems that, as the status of the industry and occupation have changed, men have sought to ‘control’ it and make it valued ‘men’s’ work. Meanwhile women have been discouraged from entering it by a misogynistic culture created by men. The toxic phosphorus of matchsticks has been replaced by the poison of online harassment and discrimination.

While the future of work might give slight advantage to women, it is likely to still be men making the key decisions that shape what work looks like. So the key challenges for women are not about ‘Who gets replaced by machines?’ but about ‘Who has power as machines increase the scope for capital accumulation?’ That is, the gender problem in future employment is not addressed by changing the technology of production, but by changing the power relations in production. This is going to be a site of contestation for a long time. But no one can be complacent: the world Margaret Atwood constructed in The Handmaid’s Tale reminds us of the fragility of women’s gains, when they have not colonised the sources of power. It is not just in postrevolutionary Iran that women experience major setbacks. As I write this, the USA is contemplating reconsidering Roe v Wade109 and many states either are preparing, or already have in place, legislation that would restrict women’s rights if that decision of almost half a century ago were overturned.110 Such reversals remain possible for decades to come.

1 Most of the strikers were at a Bryant and May factory, though this company is unrelated to the modern-day firm of the same name. A.J. Arnold, ‘Ex Luce Lucellum’? Innovation, Class Interests and Economic Returns in the Nineteenth Century Match Trade. Paper No. 04/06 (Exeter: University of Exeter, 2004),; Ali Alkhatib, Michael S. Bernstein, and Margaret Levi, ‘Examining Crowd Work and Gig Work through the Historical Lens of Piecework’. Paper presented at CHI’17—Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Denver, CO, 6–11 May 2017): 4599–4616; Catherine Best (Kelsey), ‘Meet the Matchstick Women—the Hidden Victims of the Industrial Revolution’. The Conversation, 8 March 2018,

2 Suzanne Franzway, ‘The Changing Sexual Politics of Gender Regulation by Unions’. In Women, Labor Segmentation and Regulation: Varieties of Gender Gaps, ed. David Peetz and Georgina Murray (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), 61–78.

3 For example, Alison C. Preston, ‘Female Earnings in Australia: An Analysis of 1991 Census Data’. Australian Bulletin of Labour 26, no. 1 (2000): 38–58; Phyllis Tharenou, ‘The Work of Feminists Is Not Yet Done: The Gender Pay Gap—a Stubborn Anachronism’. Sex Roles 68, no. 3–4 (2013): 198–206; Rebecca Cassells et al., ‘The Impact of a Sustained Gender Wage Gap on the Australian Economy’. Report to the Office for Women, Department of Families, Community Services, Housing and Indigenous Affairs (Canberra: NATSEM, University of Canberra, November 2009).

4 David Peetz and Georgina Murray, Women, Labor Segmentation and Regulation.

5 Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, ‘Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics’. University of Chicago Legal Forum 1989, no. 1 (1989): 139–67.

6 ‘Race’ is in quotation marks because of strong genetic evidence there is no biological concept of race, it is entirely a social construct. See Race: The Power of an Illusion (California Newsreel in association with the Independent Television Service, 2003), summarized at or read the transcript at See also Audrey Smedley, ‘The History of the Idea of Race … And Why It Matters’. Paper presented at Race, Human Variation and Disease: Consensus and Frontiers conference, Warrenton, VA, 14–17 March 2007.

7 Kevin B. Anderson, ‘Marx’s Intertwining of Race and Class During the Civil War in the U.S.’. Journal of Classical Sociology 17, no. 1 (2017): 24–36; Smedley, ‘History of Idea of Race’.

8 Karina Piser, ‘Breaking France’s Race Taboo’. Nation, 10 August 2018.

9 Damian Grimshaw and Jill Rubery, Undervaluing Women’s Work. EOC Working Paper Series (Manchester: Equal Opportunities Commission and European Work and Employment Research Centre, University of Manchester 2007).

10 To see a realistic cinematic depiction of those things in a contemporary society outside the industrialised world, see the 2012 Saudi movie Wadjda.

11 Margaret Atwood, Curious Pursuits (London: Hachette Digital, Little Brown Book Group, 2009). This line was also uttered by one of the characters in the second TV series of The Handmaid’s Tale.

12 Peter Bachrach and Morton S. Baratz, Power and Poverty: Theory and Practice (New York: Oxford University Press, 1970).

13 One recent example, by no means the most extreme, concerned the ANZ Bank. Andrew Robertson, ‘ANZ Controversy: Stricter Penalties May Be Needed to Improve Bank Culture’. The Drum (Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 2016), 22 January,

14 Daniel L. Chen and Jasmin Sethi, Insiders and Outsiders: Does Forbidding Sexual Harassment Exacerbate Gender Inequality? John M. Olin Centre for Law, Economics and Business (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Law School, 2011),

15 There is a range of research in this area; for example, Suzanne Franzway, C. Zufferey, and D. Chung, ‘Domestic Violence and Women’s Employment’. Paper presented at the Our Work, Our Lives National Conference on Women and Industrial Relations, Adelaide, 21 September 2007; Sylvia Walby, Jude Towers, and Brian Francis, ‘Mainstreaming Domestic and Gender-Based Violence into Sociology and the Criminology of Violence’. Sociological Review 62, no. S2 (2014): 187–214; Jeff Hearn, ‘The Organization(s) of Violence: Men, Gender Relations, Organizations and Violences’. Human Relations 47, no. 6 (1994): 731–54. Data on the incidence of domestic violence in Australia were published by the ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics, ‘Recorded Crime—Victims, Australia, 2014’. Canberra 4510.0; Australian Bureau of Statistics, ‘Recorded Crime—Offenders, Australia, 2014–15’. Canberra 4519.0.

16 Such as those shaping the restructuring of Australian awards in the 1980s.

17 For example, a 1980s judicial finding that BHP had discriminated against women in its ‘last-on-first-off’ firing practices.

18 For example, Franzway, ‘Changing Sexual Politics by Unions’.

19 Ibid.; Geraldine Healy and Gill Kirton, ‘Women, Power and Trade Union Government in the UK’. British Journal of Industrial Relations 38, no. 3 (2000): 343–60; Barbara Pocock, ‘Women Count: Women in South Australian Trade Unions’ (Adelaide: Centre for Labour Studies, University of Adelaide, 1992).

20 For example, Barbara Pocock, ‘Gender and Activism in Australian Unions’. Journal of Industrial Relations 37, no. 3 (1995): 377–400; Jane Parker and Julie Douglas, ‘Can Women’s Structures Help New Zealand and UK Trade Unions’ Revival?’. Journal of Industrial Relations 52(4) (2010): 439–58; Rae Cooper, ‘The Gender Gap in Union Leadership in Australia: A Qualitative Study’. Journal of Industrial Relations 54, no. 2 (2012): 131–46.

21 For example, Franzway, ‘Changing Sexual Politics by Unions’; Des Storer and Kay Hargreaves, ‘Migrant Women in Industry’. In Social Policy and Problems of the Workforce, ed. Steven Staats (Melbourne: Australian Council of Trade Unions, 1976), 39–104.

22 Australian Bureau of Statistics, ‘Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership, Australia’. Canberra 6310.0; Australian Bureau of Statistics, ‘Characteristics of Employment’. Canberra 6333.0.

23 David Peetz, ‘Trend Analysis of Union Membership’. Australian Journal of Labour Economics 8, no. 1 (2005): 1–24.

24 For example, Paul F.M. Grimes, ‘The Determinants of Trade Union Membership: Evidence from Two Australian Surveys’ (Research School of Social Sciences, The Australian National University, 1994).

25 For example, David G. Blanchflower, ‘Changes over Time in Union Relative Wage Effects in Great Britain and the United States’. In The History and Practice of Economics: Essays in Honor of Bernard Corry and Maurice Preston, ed. Sami Daniel, Philip Arestis, and John Grahl (Edward Elgar, 1999); Andrew Jackson and Grant Schellenberg, Unions, Collective Bargaining and Labour Market Outcomes for Canadian Working Women: Past Gains and Future Challenges. Research Report 11 (Canadian Labour Congress, 1999).

26 Data from International Labour Organization, Statistics of Trade Union Membership (Geneva: ILO Bureau of Statistics, 2006); United Nations, ‘Human Development Report 2004: Statistics’ (UN, 2005).

27 Peetz and Murray, Varieties of Gender Gaps.

28 Lisa M. Maatz, ‘The Awful Truth Behind the Gender Pay Gap’. ForbesWoman, 7 April 2014.

29 ABC News, ‘Family Says Cadet Raped, Told to “Suck It Up”’. ABC News, 7 April 2011,; Simon Santow, ‘Defence Lobby Returns Fire over Cadet Sex Claims’. ABC News, 17 April 2011,

30 Susan. A. Brownmiller, Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1975).

31 Anne Summers, ‘The Education of David Morrison’. Anne Summers Reports 11 (2015): 22–34; David Wroe, ‘Defence Boss Blasts “Stalking Horse” Critics of Australian of the Year David Morrison’. Sydney Morning Herald, 24 February 2016,

32 See, for example, Glenda Strachan and John Burgess, ‘Employment Restructuring, Enterprise Bargaining and Employment Conditions for Women Workers’. Paper presented at the Current Research in Industrial Relations conference, AIRAANZ, Brisbane, 1997, 321–29.

33 David Peetz, ‘Collateral Damage: Women and the Workchoices Battlefield’. Hecate 33, no. 1 (2007): 61–80; Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever, Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003); Lisa A. Barron, ‘Ask and You Shall Receive? Gender Differences in Negotiators’ Beliefs and Requests for a Higher Salary’. Human Relations 56, no. 6 (2003): 635–62; Rosabeth Kanter, Men and Women of the Corporation (New York: Basic Books, 1977); Muriel Niederle and Lise Vesterlund, Do Women Shy Away from Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much? NBER Working Paper No. 11474 (Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research, July 2005).

34 Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, ‘Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders?’. Harvard Business Review blog (22 August 2013).

35 Rockefeller Foundation and Global Strategy Group, CEOs & Gender: A Media Analysis (New York: Rockefeller Foundation, 26 October 2016),

36 David Peetz, Georgina Murray, and Mahan Poorhosseinzadeh, ‘Why Do Women at the Top of Organizations Do Worse?’. In Women, Labor Segmentation and Regulation: Varieties of Gender Gaps, ed. David Peetz and Georgina Murray (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017).

37 Mike Noon, ‘Pointless Diversity Training: Unconscious Bias, New Racism and Agency’. Work, Employment and Society 32, no. 1 (2018): 198–209.

38 Julie E. Phelan and Laurie A. Rudman, ‘Prejudice toward Female Leaders: Backlash Effects and Women’s Impression Management Dilemma’. Social and Personality Psychology Compass 4, no. 10 (2010): 807–20.

39 On the role of charisma in selecting CEOs, see Peter Bloom and Carl Rhodes, CEO Society: The Corporate Takeover of Everyday Life (London: Zed, 2018).

40 Peter Brosnan, ‘Labour Markets and Social Deprivation’. Labour and Industry 7, no. 2 (1996): 3–34.

41 Ibid.

42 Margaret Power, ‘Woman’s Work Is Never Done—by Men: A Socio-Economic Model of Sex Typing in Occupations’. Journal of Industrial Relations 17, no. 3 (September 1975): 225–39.

43 Francine D. Blau, Peter Brummund, and Albert Yung-Hsu Liu, Trends in Occupational Segregation by Gender 19702009: Adjusting for the Impact of Changes in the Occupational Coding System. IZA Discussion Paper No. 6490 (Bonn: Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit, 2012).

44 David Peetz and Georgina Murray, ‘Women’s Employment, Segregation and Skills in the Future of Work’. Labour and Industry 29, no. 1 (2019): 132–48.

45 Bernard Keane, ‘The Looming Crisis for Women in Oz Tech’. Crikey, 16 March 2016; Bernard Keane, ‘What’s Driving Women out of Tech Industries?’. Crikey, 17 March 2016; Bernard Keane, ‘Rape Fears and Harassment, but Bright Spots for Women in Tech, Too’. Crikey, 18 March 2016.

46 David Peetz, ‘Regulation Distance, Labour Segmentation & Gender Gaps’. Cambridge Journal of Economics 39, no. 2 (2015): 345–62.

47 Peetz and Murray, Varieties of Gender Gaps.

48 Sara Horrell, Jill Rubery, and Brendan Burchell, ‘Unequal Jobs or Unequal Pay?’. Social Change and Economic Life Initiative Working Paper No. 6 (Oxford: Economic and Social Research Council, January 1989).

49 See footnote 3 in this chapter. But note that many of those studies control for occupation and/or industry. This means that they may understate the genuine gender pay gap, as controlling for industry and occupation removes much of that part of the gap that is due to labour market segregation, and instead mainly measures the impact of direct discrimination between men and women doing the similar work for different rates of pay.

50 Russell Rimmer and Sheila Rimmer, More Brilliant Careers (Canberra: AGPS, 1994).

51 Gillian Whitehouse, ‘Recent Trends in Pay Equity: Beyond the Aggregate Statistics’, Journal of Industrial Relations 43, no. 1 (2001): 66–75.

52 Arlie Hochschild, The Managed Heart (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1983); Sharon C. Bolton and Carol Boyd, ‘Trolley Dolly or Skilled Emotion Manager? Moving on from Hochschild’s Managed Heart’. Work, Employment & Society 17, no. 2 (2003): 289–308.

53 See also Cathy O’Neill, Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy (New York: Crown Publishing Group, 2016).

54 Mike Noon and Paul Blyton, The Realities of Work: Experiencing Work and Employment in Contemporary Society (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002).

55 Hochschild, Managed Heart, 7.

56 Shalene Werth, ‘Stigma, Stress and Emotional Labour: Experiences of Women with Chronic Illness at Work’. Paper presented at 25th AIRAANZ Conference, Auckland, February 2011. Yes, it’s worth reading Werth.

57 Shalene Werth, David Peetz, and Kaye Broadbent, ‘Issues of Power and Disclosure for Women with Chronic Illness in Their Places of Work’. In Work and Identity: Contemporary Perspectives on Workplace Diversity, ed. Shalene Werth and Charlotte Brownlow (New York: Palgrave, 2018).

58 Mike Steketee, ‘Government by Algorithm’. Inside Story, 5 April 2018; Doug Dingwall, ‘Centrelink Accused of Intimidating Clients with AFP Letters’. Australian Financial Review, 4 August 2017; Terry Carney, ‘The New Digital Future for Welfare: Debts without Legal Proofs or Moral Authority?’. UNSW Law Journal Forum 41, no. 1 (2018): 1–16.

59 O’Neill, Weapons of Math Destruction.

60 Jörg W. Kirchhoff and Jan C. Karlsson, ‘Expansion of Output: Organizational Misbehaviour in Public Enterprises’. Economic and Industrial Democracy 34, no. 1 (2013): 107–22.

61 Bureau of Labor Statistics, Table 1.7 Occupational projections, 2016–26, and worker characteristics, 2016 (Numbers in thousands),; and Table 11, Employed persons by detailed occupation, sex, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity,

62 Peetz and Murray, ‘Women’s Employment’.

63 Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne, The Future of Employment: How Susceptible Are Jobs to Computerisation? (Oxford: Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford, 2013).

64 Peetz and Murray, ‘Women’s Employment’.

65 Marian Baird et al., Women and the Future of Work (Sydney: Australian Women’s Working Futures project, University of Sydney Business School, 2018).

66 Rosabeth Moss Kanter, ‘Some Effects of Proportions on Group Life: Skewed Sex Ratios and Responses to Token Women’. American Journal of Sociology 82, no. 5 (1977): 695–990.

67 Drude Dahlerup, ‘The Story of the Theory of Critical Mass’. Gender and Politics 2, no. 4 (2006): 511–22; Sarah Childs and Mona Lena Krook, ‘Should Feminists Give up on Critical Mass? A Contingent Yes’. Gender and Politics 2, no. 4 (2006): 522–30.

68 Childs and Krook, ‘Should Feminists’; S. Grey, ‘Does Size Matter? Critical Mass in New Zealand’s Women MPs’. Parliamentary Affairs 55, no. 1 (2002): 19–29; Karen Beckwith, ‘Numbers and Newness: The Descriptive and Substantive Representation of Women’. Canadian Journal of Political Science 44, no. 2 (2007): 27–49; Karen Beckwith and Kimberly Cowell-Meyers, ‘Sheer Numbers: Critical Representation Thresholds and Women’s Political Representation’. Perspectives on Politics 5, no. 3 (2007): 553–65.

69 Joan Eveline and Michael Booth, ‘Gender and Sexuality in Discourses of Managerial Control: The Case of Women Miners’. Gender, Work and Organisation 9, no. 5 (2002): 556–78.

70 Georgina Murray and David Peetz, Women of the Coal Rushes (Sydney: UNSW Press, 2010), Chapter 6.

71 Justin Wolfers, ‘Even Famous Female Economists Get No Respect’. New York Times, 11 November 2015; Alice H. Wu, ‘Gender Stereotyping in Academia: Evidence from Economics Job Market Rumors Forum’. SSRN, August 2017,; Ben Casselman and Jim Tankersley, ‘Women in Economics Report Rampant Sexual Assault and Bias’. New York Times, 18 March 2019;. Peetz, Murray, and Poorhosseinzadeh, ‘Women at the Top’.

72 Kanter, ‘Some Effects of Proportions’.

73 Peetz, ‘Regulation Distance’.

74 The term was defined in Bolton and Boyd, ‘Trolley Dolly’, 291.

75 Georgina Murray, David Peetz, and Olav Muurlink, ‘Structuring Gender Relations among Coal Mine Workers’. In Women at Work: Labor Segmentation and Regulation, ed. D. Peetz and G. Murray (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), 119–36.

76 Kanter, ‘Some Effects of Proportions’.

77 Hochschild, Managed Heart.

78 See, for example, Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers Australia, Women in the Professions Survey Report 2007 (Melbourne: APESMA, 2007); Peetz, Murray, and Poorhosseinzadeh, ‘Women at the Top’.

79 Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency, 2010 Australian Census of Women in Leadership (Sydney: EOWA, 2010).

80 Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency, Gender Income Distribution of Top Earners in ASX200 Companies: 2006 EOWA Census of Women in Leadership (Sydney: EOWA, 2008).

81 David Peetz and Georgina Murray, ‘The “Powerful Women Paradox”: Why Women at the Top Still Miss Out’. In Macht Und Employment Relations. Festschrift Für Werner Nienhüser, ed. H. Hossfeld and R. Ortlieb (Mering, Bayern: Rainer Hampp Verlag, 2013), 181–86.

82 Peetz, Murray, and Poorhosseinzadeh, ‘Women at the Top’.

83 Rockefeller Foundation and Global Strategy Group, Women in Leadership: Why It Matters (New York: Rockefeller Foundation, 12 May 2016),

84 For engineering, see M. Teresa Cardador and Brianna Caza, ‘The Subtle Stressors Making Women Want to Leave Engineering’. Harvard Business Review, 23 November 2018,

85 Eliana Dockterman, ‘What Is #Gamergate and Why Are Women Being Threatened About Video Games?’. Time, 16 October 2014,; John Naughton, ‘Want to Succeed in Tech? Try Not to Be a Woman …’ Guardian, 11 June 2017; Sam Levin, ‘Accused of Underpaying Women, Google Says It’s Too Expensive to Get Wage Data’. Guardian, 27 May 2017; Valentina Zarya, ‘Female Programmers Make Nearly 30% Less Than Their Male Counterparts’., 16 November 2016; Sarah Kessler, ‘Tech’s Big Gender Diversity Push, One Year In’. Fast Company, 2015,; Keane, ‘Looming Crisis’; Keane, ‘What’s Driving Women’; Keane, ‘Rape Fears and Harassment’. See also footnotes 1 and 2 in Chapter 7.

86 Daisuke Wakabayashi and Katie Benner, ‘How Google Has Protected Its Elite Men’. New York Times, 25 October 2018; Bryan Menegus, ‘Google Agreed to Pay Execs Accused of Sexual Harassment $135 Million’. Gizmodo, 11 March 2019,

87 Marie Hicks, Programmed Inequality: How Britain Discarded Women Technologists and Lost Its Edge in Computing (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2017); Nathan Ensmenger, The Computer Boys Take Over: Computers, Programmers, and the Politics of Technical Expertise (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2010).

88 Peetz and Murray, Varieties of Gender Gaps.

89 Josh Terrell, Andrew Kofink, Justin Middleton, Clarissa Rainear, Emerson Murphy-Hill, Chris Parnin, and Jon Stallings, ‘Gender Bias in Open Source: Pull Request Acceptance of Women Versus Men’. Peer Journal of Computer Science 3, no.1 (May 2017).

90 Becky Gardiner, Mahana Mansfield, Ian Anderson, Josh Holder, Daan Louter and Monica Ulmanu, ‘The Dark Side of Guardian Comments’. The Guardian, April 12, 2016,

91 Ginger Gorman, ‘Internet Trolls Are Not Who I Thought—They’re Even Scarier’. ABC News, 1 February 2019,

92 Crenshaw, ‘Demarginalizing the Intersection’.

93 Stephen Clibborn, ‘Why Undocumented Immigrant Workers Should Have Workplace Rights’. Economic and Labour Relations Review 28, no. 3 (2015): 465–73.

94 See Chapter 10.

95 Thorsten Stromback, The Earnings of Migrants in Australia. Conference Paper No. 46 (Canberra: Bureau of Labour Market Research, 1984); Christina Ho and Caroline Alcorso, ‘Migrants and Employment: Challenging the Success Story’. Journal of Sociology 40, no. 3 (2004): 237–59; Prem J. Thapa, ‘On the Risk of Unemployment: A Comparative Assessment of the Labour Market Success of Migrants in Australia’. Australian Journal of Labour Economics 7, no. 2 (2004): 199–229; Sue Ressia, ‘Starting from Scratch: Skilled Dual Career Migrant Couples and Their Search for Employment in South East Queensland’. International Journal of Employment Studies 18, no. 1 (2010): 63–88; Yvonne Riaño and Nadia Baghdadi, ‘Understanding the Labour Market Participation of Skilled Immigrant Women in Switzerland: The Interplay of Class, Ethnicity, and Gender’. International Migration and Integration 8, no. 2 (2007): 163–83; John Rynderman and Catherine Flynn, ‘“We Didn’t Bring the Treasure of Pharaoh”: Skilled Migrants’ Experiences of Employment Seeking and Settling in Australia’. International Social Work 59, no. 2 (2016): 266–83.

96 The Industrial Relations of Migrant Employment (Canberra: Bureau of Immigration and Population Research/AGPS, 1993).

97 For OECD countries, see Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Chapter 1. Knowledge Economies: Trends and Features. OECD Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard 2015 (Paris: OECD, 2015). For declines between the 2000s and 2010s in manufacturing’s share in economies such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Africa, see International Labour Organization, ‘Employment by Sex and Economic Activity (Thousands)’ (ILOSTAT, ILO, 2019),

98 Santina Bertone and Gerry Griffin, Immigrant Workers and Their Unions (Canberra: AGPS, 1992); also Jock Collins, Migrant Hands in a Distant Land: Australia’s Post-War Immigration (Sydney: Pluto, 1988); Constance Lever-Tracy and Michael Quinlan, A Divided Working Class (New York: RKP, 1988); Callus and Knox, The Industrial Relations of Migrant Employment.

99 EMD Workforce Development, Migrants and Workplace Bargaining: Australian Case Studies. Industrial Relations Research Series No. 11, Workplace Bargaining Research Project (Canberra: Department of Industrial Relations, AGPS, 1994); Department of Industrial Relations, Enterprise Bargaining in Australia: 1994 Annual Report (Canberra: AGPS, 1995); Department of Industrial Relations, Enterprise Bargaining in Australia: 1995 Annual Report (Canberra: AGPS, 1996); Santina Bertone, Enterprise Bargaining and Employees from a Non-English Speaking Background. Report to DIR for 1994 Enterprise Bargaining Report (Canberra: Department of Industrial Relations, 1995); Caroline Alcorso, The Effects of Enterprise Bargaining on Employees from NESB. Report to DIR for 1995 Enterprise Bargaining Report (Canberra: Department of Industrial Relations, 1996).

100 Caroline Alcorso and Graham Harrison, Blue Collar and Beyond: The Experiences of Non-English Speaking Background Women in the Australian Labour Force (Canberra: Commonwealth State Council on Non-English Speaking Background Women’s Issues, Office of Women’s Affairs/AGPS, 1993).

101 Stromback, The Earnings of Migrants in Australia; Jawad Syed and Peter A. Murray, ‘Combating the English Language Deficit: The Labour Market Experiences of Migrant Women in Australia’. Human Resource Management Journal 19, no. 4 (2009): 413–32; Uzi Rebhun, ‘A Double Disadvantage? Immigration, Gender, and Employment Status in Israel’. European Journal of Population, 24, no. 1 (2008): 8–113.

102 Alcorso and Harrison, Blue Collar and Beyond; see also D. Storer and K. Hargreaves, ‘Migrant Women in Industry’. In Social Policy and Problems of the Workforce, Vol. 1, ed. S. Staats (Melbourne: Social Welfare Unit, Australian Council of Trade Unions, 1976), 39–104.

103 Mindy Thorpe, ‘Outworkers’. In Pay Equity in Queensland, ed. David Peetz and Rosemary Hunter (Brisbane: Centre for Research on Employment and Work and Socio Legal Research Centre, Report to Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations, Queensland Government Submission, Pay Equity Inquiry, Queensland Industrial Relations Commission, No. B1568, 2000), 99–114; see also Annie Delaney, ‘A Comparison of Australian and Indian Women Garment and Footwear Homeworkers’. In Women, Labor Segmentation and Regulation: Varieties of Gender Gaps, ed. David Peetz and Georgina Murray (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), 193–210.

104 Igor Nossar et al., ‘Protective Legal Regulation for Home-Based Workers in Australian Textile, Clothing and Footwear Supply Chains’. Journal of Industrial Relations 57, no. 4 (2015): 585–603.

105 Delaney, ‘Australian and Indian’.

106 Ressia, ‘Starting from Scratch’.

107 The New York Times Editorial, Climate Refugees: How Global Change Is Displacing Millions (New York: New York Times, 2017). This book (a collection of NYT stories) opens with the sentence: ‘There will be 50 million of them by 2050—or 200 million, depending on which expert you ask.’

108 Etienne Piguet, Antoine Pécoud, and Paul de Guchteneire, ‘Migration and Climate Change: An Overview’. Refugee Survey Quarterly 33, no. 3 (2011): 1–23.

109 Roe v Wade 410 U.S. 113 (1973), the major case establishing women’s right to an abortion, by considering constitutional validity of laws that criminalised or restricted access to abortions.

110 Julia Jacobs and Matt Stevens, ‘With Abortion in Spotlight, States Seek to Pass New Laws’. New York Times, 8 February 2019,

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