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Thu 27. 8.  11:00 - 12:30
room FA 548

Women, Care and Precarious Work in the Context of Economic Crisis


Dudová, Radka; Hašková, Hana
Institute of Sociology of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic

In the paper, we examine forms and experience of insecure and precarious work by Czech women caring for a child or dependent family member. The results of a quantitative survey indicate that the share of caring women performing precarious work has increased during the economic crisis. A secondary analysis of interviews conducted in 2006-2013 with women caring for a child or family member offered insight into the kind of forms precarious work can take, how women feel about this kind of work and why, and in what way, based on the capability approach, do their explanations provide a better understanding of the nature and spread of precarious work among women with care responsibilities. We have found that caring women fit along a continuum, ranging at one end from viewing ad hoc work as an optimal strategy for them for a temporary period, to seeing it as a temporary solution to a situation when no other option is available, and finally to feelings that they are caught in a precarious work trap. This continuum can be extrapolated into a kind of ‘collective story’ of women finding themselves in the trap of precarious work: a woman first ‘chooses’ ad hoc work as a temporary strategy in order to get a job; if her life conditions are difficult she must continue to perform such work against her preferences; after a long period of economic inactivity or of performing just temporary work the woman is ultimately unable to find any solid form of employment, even once she reaches a situation where she is not as restricted by care responsibilities.