A gendered analysis of IT-enabled service work in the global economy

HOWCROFT, Debra and RICHARDSON, Helen (2016). A gendered analysis of IT-enabled service work in the global economy. In: PETERSON, Helen, (ed.) Gender in Transnational Knowledge Work. Switzerland, Springer, 11-30.

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Abstract

In this chapter we aim to weave together a number of areas of literature in order to highlight gender inequality in IT-enabled service work in the global economy. As women’s participation in labour markets increases (ILO, 2007) along with the expansion of service sector work (ILO, 2008), expectations emerge that suggest increased opportunities and gender equality beckons. Global capitalist development involves the mobilisation of large numbers of women workers and women's participation has increased over time at all income levels (2011). However sex segmentation is endemic, with women often concentrated in industries where profit margins are protected by shrinking labour costs, extending working hours or reducing the number of formal workers (Heintz, 2006). Labour market trends are linked to a common rhetorical theme which suggests that ICTs are driving and enabling work transformations, and that women are likely benefactors (ILO, 2001; Mansell, 2001). This is coupled with the increasing outsourcing and offshoring of IT-enabled service work, which some view as being key to promoting development, offering opportunities for women to enter the workforce and to become involved in enterprise (Morgan et al., 2004). Investment in technology generally and ICTs in particular is often touted as an instrument for bridging the gap between developed and developing countries and accelerating economic growth, yet these assumed economic and social gains—for both women and men—are dubious at best (Mansell, 2002; Avgerou, 2003).

Item Type: Book Section
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Sheffield Business School Research Institute > People, Work and Organisation
Depositing User: Helen Richardson
Date Deposited: 07 Nov 2016 12:57
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2017 13:40
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/13890

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